Fiber-optic network developer SiFi Networks says it plans to build the first of its privately funded FiberCity open access broadband networks in Fullerton, CA. The Smart City Infrastructure Fund, a global investment fund managed by Whitehelm Capital and backed by APG, the largest pension delivery organization in the Netherlands, will fund network construction. SiFi will build and operate the fiber to the home (FTTH) network.
Ting and GigabitNow have signed up to offer broadband services to residents and businesses over the upcoming fiber network. SiFi says the network also will support “smart city” functions such as traffic control, street lighting, and emergency services. The network operator also foresees the fiber infrastructure serving as a foundation for expansion of 4G and 5G cellular networks. Network construction should begin next month, with first service availability by the end of the year, according to GigabitNow.
“We are excited to deliver our first FiberCity in the USA, an investment that sets the standard for fiber-optic infrastructure as a core utility. We believe that our business model can transform the telecoms market in the USA. Privately funded, open access networks will not only benefit residents and businesses, but also provide citywide platforms for Smart City applications including 5G and more,” stated Ben Bawtree-Jobson, CEO of SiFi Networks.
SiFi says it plans to deploy other FiberCity networks in the U.S., “with several cities already in line to be next” after Fullerton, in the words of a SiFi press release. The company reached an initial agreement with Fullerton in 2014 and announced an agreement with Pacific Grove, CA, the same year (see “SiFi Networks to build FTTH network for Pacific Grove, CA”). The Pacific Grove project was a public/private partnership rather than the privately funded model pursued in Fullerton, according to a SiFi spokesperson. The project “fell through,” in the words of a local news report, when local service suppliers declined to lease capacity on the network. (Having agreements in place with Ting and GigabitNow, as well as the different business model, should hedge against a similar fate in Fullerton.) SiFi also signed a deal in 2014 with Louisville, KY; network construction there has not yet started, according to the spokesperson. In the past year, SiFi has signed FTTH network deployment agreements with East Hartford, CT; Salem, MA; and Saratoga Springs, NY.
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