Technology Task Force Final Report
B. Recommendations Pertaining to Telecom Infrastructure
Overview of Broadband Technologies
Definition of Broadband
There are many different ideas of what the term broadband means in terms of data rates. The Federal Communication Commission applies the term broadband to data rates in excess of 200 kilobits per second (Kbps). However, in light of current technologies which are capable of producing data rates of up to 40 gigabits per second (Gbps), this lower limit, which is 200,000 times less than the upper limit, is considered by the Task Force to be relatively slow and marginal for new technologies and applications that are being developed. It is important therefore, to know what data rate is being implied whenever the term broadband is being used.
Broadband data rates for fiber optic cable and free air optic technologies are important from another aspect. It is now possible to send information over different discrete wavelengths of light simultaneously. It will soon be possible to send thousands of these discrete wavelengths of light over a single fiber simultaneously, each beam or channel bearing a different set of data, voice or video information. Consequently, the greater the available bandwidth for fiber optic cable, the greater the number of possible channels or multiple streams of information.
Broadband Access Technologies
There are many competing broadband access technologies that have been developed to facilitate local connectivity to the Internet. Each of these technologies has significantly different characteristics, thus making each optimal under a different set of conditions. The major classes of broadband access technology are:
- Cable modem
- Digital subscriber line
- Fiber optic cable
- 2.5G and 3G cellular wireless
- Wireless Ethernet
- Home and enterprise networking technologies
Lucid, succinct descriptions of these technologies are given in the white paper (pages 5-8), Delivering Technology Solutions for Broadband Communications, by William E. Witowsky, Chief Technical Officer, Texas Instruments Broadband Communications Group, which has been appended as Appendix C.
Broadband Service in Fullerton
The Task Force determined that most of the City of Fullerton has access to Adelphia's TV cable and/or PacBell's DSL service over phone lines at data rates of up to 1-2 megabits per second (Mbps). AT&T recently began providing fixed wireless broadband service at data rates of approximately 300 Kbps to many residences in Fullerton. City government, Fullerton high schools, and Fullerton College typically use T-1 lines to access the Internet at data rates of approximately 1.5 Mbps. Greater bandwidth is available from the telecoms at much greater cost using T-3 lines. However, only buildings such as those at California State University at Fullerton (CSUF) and homes in Amerige Heights, which are directly connected to fiber optic cable, are capable of being served at gigabit data rates.
The Task Force recommends that the City of Fullerton set for itself the goal of being a very high broadband (VHB) community within five years (mid-2007).
A VHB community is herein defined as a community in which all members, businesses, residents, and government and educational institutions, have direct access, if desired, to a telecommunications network at data rates of at least 100 Mbps for fiber and HFC networks, 10 Mbps or more for fixed wireless networks, and 1 Mbps or more for mobile wireless networks at costs which do not significantly exceed those that are incurred for much lower bandwidth (typically <2.0 Mbps) telecom service today.
Today the City, like others, faces the dilemma known as the "last mile" problem. This term refers to a bottleneck in data transport that occurs at the ends of national and international networks. Data travel quickly at gigabit per second rates across the nation along high-speed fiber optic lines, but as the data reach the end of those lines in the heart of metropolitan areas and outlying areas, the data encounter much slower links to homes and businesses that are based on legacy copper and HFC systems. Given the tremendous costs involved in digging trenches, laying cable, and setting up equipment, there is currently little incentive for telecommunication companies to interconnect an entire city with a high-speed network. Consequently, very high data rate networks in residential areas are usually only built in major new developments, such as Amerige Heights, where they are economically competitive with copper and HFC networks which have not been previously constructed.
Connecting enormous business hubs together, such as Los Angeles and New York, or connecting downtown areas of small to mid-sized cities to one another in an area such as Southern California makes much more business sense because there is less risk that revenue will be inadequate. As a result, for areas outside of a suburban city's downtown, where small businesses, schools, and homes tend to be located, the availability of high-speed network connections is limited and network costs remain high. Widely available technologies such as DSL and HFC do provide some relief in comparison to the high cost of T-1 and T-3 technologies and the slowness of analog dial-up modems. But current DSL and HFC technologies do not provide either the reliability or the data rates necessary to support businesses maintaining 24/7, "mission-critical" infrastructures or businesses and communities wishing to use or be prepared for emerging, next-generation technologies.
However, new technologies that are currently being implemented are making the goal of VHB achievable for older buildings that are not readily connected to the Internet with fiber optic cable. Soma Networks (www.somanetworks.com) provides fixed wireless, non-line-of-sight, point-multipoint, CDMA Internet service at 10 Mbps at a cost of about $400 per site. Terabeam (www.terabeam.com) uses infrared technology to send data over point-multipoint, line-of-sight beams at rates in excess of 1 Gbps. Narad Networks (www.naradnetworks.com) claims its new technology for HFC systems, such as Adelphia's, allows cable companies to provision 1 Gbps Ethernet service on main trunks and deliver 100 Mbps Ethernet to homes and businesses at a cost of about $500 per site. Companies such as Terawave Communications (www.terawave.com) and Optical Solutions (www.opticalsolutions.com) specialize in bringing economical fiber optic service to small businesses and residences, respectively. Cogent and Telseon can provision Ethernet service over fiber according to the bandwidth required.
CityNet (www.citynettelecom.com) is capable of laying multiple fiber optic cables in sewer pipes as small as 8 inches in diameter for about 60% of the cost of tearing up streets to lay cable. As an alternative, Semper Fiber Links, a division of Southern California Gas Company, plans to insert plastic conduit and fiber-optics into working gas pipelines that connect to buildings and do it without shutting down the pipelines. Using another innovative technique, Teraspan makes a narrow cut into sidewalks and parking lots, installs a loose tube fiber cable, and then reseals the sidewalk. Consequently, the goal set in this recommendation should be attainable within the next five years.
As the "last mile" bottleneck is broken over the next few years, services and applications requiring highly stable, very high-speed connections will become increasingly common and taxing to narrowband copper-based telephone and coax transmission lines, even DSL. For example, highly anticipated video-on-demand services are expected to require an increasingly high-speed network. According to Bernard Daines, World Wide Packets, the coast-to-coast transfer of a DVD movie such as "The Matrix" would require 13 days with a 56 Kbps modem, 11.5 hours with a cable modem (1.5 Mbps), 10 minutes for Fast Ethernet (100 Mbps), and only 1 minute for Gigabit Ethernet (1,000 Mbps).
Industries such as manufacturing, medicine, finance, and media will all similarly require the use of such high-speed networks for various applications such as global manufacturing logistics, telemedicine, e-commerce transactions, videoconferencing, as well as connecting corporate data centers to the public and to each other. Furthermore, with massive data storage becoming more feasible and commonplace, the limiting factor in technology will remain in the network connections that allow stored data to be transferred.
Other new applications requiring very high bandwidth are actively being explored. The State of California recently established the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. "Drawing upon the academic prowess of UC San Diego and UC Irvine, the Center links three levels of government -- state, federal and local -- 200 university faculty members, a slew of cutting-edge companies and the community at large to explore how next-generation Internet technologies will transform transportation, medicine and the environment" (MIT Technology Review, March 2002). The Center has been funded with a grant of $400 million for four years, which is being matched 2 to 1, by funds from industry and individuals.
It is unrealistic to suggest that Fullerton city government take on the burden of re-wiring the entire city to solve the "last mile" problem. It would also be unwise for the City to pick specific city-wide solutions. However, other cities have found creative solutions to building high-speed networks that rely upon implementation by private enterprise. These should be investigated and a telecom master plan for creating a VHB community within five years should be developed (see Recommendation 3 below). Certain broad guidelines, however, can be suggested that will increase the rate at which a high-speed network is deployed and make reaching the goal of being a VHB community possible within 5 years. They are: 1) require developers to pre-wire new and reconstructed buildings internally to support high-speed connections (see Recommendation 4 below), 2) streamline telecom-related permitting processes, 3) encourage the owner of the HFC system within the City to upgrade its network, and facilitate the deployment of wireless technologies to extend the reach of the network.
Pre-wire new and reconstructed buildings. High-speed network providers are focussing on connecting buildings to metropolitan area networks that already support broadband connectivity. In cases where buildings support broadband and there are several tenants demanding the services, network providers are willing to pay for the majority of the costs involved in deploying network infrastructure to these buildings. Cities without buildings wired for broadband are simply not being considered as candidates for this type of offering. Specific details regarding requirements for internal wiring of buildings are found in Recommendation 4.
Streamline telecom-related permitting processes. The City should streamline the permitting process for telecom-related developments to encourage the deployment of high-speed networks at rates faster than in surrounding cities. This may be accomplished through expediting telecom-related permitting requests and by providing an online interface for permit request submission and status inquiries.
Encourage upgrading of the community's HFC system. Cable TV networks in the City can be leveraged by new technologies to support higher data rates. As noted above, Narad Networks claims that its new technology for HFC systems, such as Fullerton's existing cable TV system, allows cable companies to provision 1 Gbps Ethernet service on main trunks and deliver 100 Mbps Ethernet to homes and businesses at a cost of about $500 per site. Wherever possible, the City should strengthen its relationship with HFC providers by making accommodations that will enable them to increase sales that will drive advancements in their technology.
Facilitate the deployment of wireless technologies. Fixed wireless technology, which provides high-speed access by beaming data from dish to dish across rooftops, can be used to quickly and inexpensively bring buildings online that are not connected to land-based networks. This may be the only solution for areas where trenching is prohibitive and buildings are old. Companies such as Terabeam, Western Multiplex (www.wmux.com) and Air Fiber (www.airfiber.com) offer 1 Gbps fixed wireless solutions.
The Task Force recommends that the City of Fullerton develop a telecommunications master plan for the community that incorporates wireless, fiber optic and new hybrid-fiber-coax (HFC) technologies. A combination of new and existing fixed and mobile wireless, fiber optic, and new HFC technologies should be integrated in a manner which insures that all community constituents have ready access to very high bandwidth telecom services and are interconnected by a community-wide intranet.
Task Force research has identified hundreds of communities of all sizes that have prepared telecommunication infrastructure and information technology plans. Some are specific to city-owned facilities, whereas others encompass all elements of the community. Countries such as Canada, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, and Scotland are in the process of implementing regional or countrywide plans. The City of Chicago has developed an extremely comprehensive telecom infrastructure plan that is accessible on the Internet (www.cityofchicago.org/CivicNet/civicnetRFI) and Northwestern University prepared supporting justification (www.it.nwu.edu/metrochicago). The infrastructure plan is currently being implemented.
P. K. Agarwal, chief information officer for the California Franchise Tax Board, in the brief, strategic article, Shaping the Economic Future, stated that "the single, most critical strategy for a new economy-friendly community is to develop a telecommunications and information infrastructure that links governments, schools, businesses and citizens and is supplemented by an appropriate policy, regulatory, educational and evangelical framework. The benefits gained from a strong telecommunications and information infrastructure are:
- Expansion in areas of existing economic strength
- Creation and attraction of new business enterprises;
- Positioning small- and medium-sized businesses to seek global and national markets;
- Improving the productivity and distribution of goods and services;
- Spawning new information and service enterprises;
- Providing new information tools to make agriculture and manufacturing more productive and profitable;
- Incubating new economic enterprises, such as telemedicine and distance learning;
- Distributing economic growth throughout the community, as it allows knowledgeable workers to work where they live;
- Allowing government to accelerate and streamline processes and foster a "business-friendly" image."
In his article, Agarwal also included a self-assessment questionnaire, which is intended to assist community and government leaders at all levels in assessing their readiness to meet the challenge of migration to this new economy. The article is reproduced in its entirety in Appendix D.
An inventory of fiber optic cable lines and wireless towers was prepared as a Geographic Information System (GIS) map and database that shows the distribution of fiber optic cable and wireless towers in Fullerton and their proximity to various educational and governmental facilities. The City of Fullerton should continually update this database and make it publicly accessible on the City's website.
Constructing the inventory of fiber optic cable was difficult because some carriers consider the location of their fiber lines to be proprietary information. However, it has been established that there are at least four major telecom carriers and one cable company with extensive fiber lines in Fullerton. The location of fiber optic lines is shown on the map in Figure 1 and the location of wireless towers is shown in Figure 2. The map of wireless towers is incomplete because the City only began recording the location of towers on private land about 3 years ago. The map of fiber lines is also probably incomplete. For example, the California State University at Fullerton is connected to a fiber optic network at a point that is not shown on the map.
Companies such as Fiberloops.com (www.fiberloops.com) and Coloadvisors (www.coloadvisors.com) claim to be able to provide the location of all dark (unused) fiber and all buildings connected to lit fiber in a municipality for a fee. The City should work with these sources to create a more complete database of fiber routes and buildings connected to the existing fiber optic infrastructure. These sources also claim to be able to provide information about the wireless towers in a municipality. An attempt to obtain the location of wireless towers in Fullerton from the FCC website was unsuccessful.
No attempt was made to determine the location in Fullerton of existing wireless access points to the Internet. However, this can be readily done by driving around Fullerton in a vehicle that is equipped with a Pentium laptop computer containing a Wi-Fi wireless card that is connected to a Global Positioning System (GPS) system and running a free program called Netstumbler.
Documenting Fullerton's technological infrastructure and making it readily accessible to the public will counter the notion that Fullerton lacks technological infrastructure. Such information should be Internet-enabled and accessible in the form of a database and GIS map. Providing such information publicly will help prevent technology companies from automatically gravitating toward established technology-friendly cities such as Anaheim or Irvine. For example, a startup Internet service provider (ISP) in Anaheim, which was interviewed, chose not to locate in Fullerton because the founder assumed that there were no buildings in Fullerton served by more than one fiber optics provider. (ISPs generally need to be paired with more than one fiber optics provider in order to prevent outages resulting from a loss of connectivity with a single provider.)
The realty in Fullerton is that there are many buildings, though not internally wired to support broadband, within close proximity to multiple fiber optic lines making them candidates for housing technology companies that could provide "mission-critical", 24/7 services. Communicating publicly that Fullerton has existing very high broadband telecom infrastructure is a necessary step in transforming Fullerton's image to one of being technology-friendly.
As part of the telecommunications master plan, the City of Fullerton should investigate the feasibility of purchasing or leasing dark fiber from SBC PacBell, Southern California Edison and/or other telecom carriers in order to create a fiber optic network connecting all major City facilities that require communication services.
The City currently uses ISDN lines to serve most remote City buildings. These lines have data rates of up to 128 Kbps, which is approximately equal to two dial-up lines. When several computers are using these lines, response times become unreasonably slow. Some remote buildings are served by T-1 lines. These lines are the equivalent to 24 dial-up lines. Although they are capable of providing data rates of up to 1.5 Mbps, current standards are to provide Ethernet service at 100 Mbps. Current and future applications are increasingly relying on the availability of network speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps). As computer applications become more graphically oriented, communication at the higher data rates becomes increasingly important.
The police station, city hall, the main library, the senior center, the Hunt Library, and the City's maintenance yard are all within 100 feet of a major carrier's fiber optic cable that has excess capacity, and yet none of them are connected to it. Many of these facilities are within redevelopment zones. Consequently, the creation of a fiber optic network that connects them might be accomplished with redevelopment funds.
Future negotiations with Adelphia or its successor regarding Fullerton's cable franchise provide an additional opportunity to explore options for connecting City facilities and other buildings such as schools with fiber and/or HFC. Adelphia has a history of working with communities to create high-speed community intranets. Many communities that have connected public facilities with fiber optic cable have achieved improved service and found cost savings to be substantial, thereby making the payback period relatively brief.
The City of Fullerton should plan to integrate its information technology networks and telephone systems.
The differences between telephone and networked computer systems are rapidly decreasing. Telephone calls can now be placed over data network; often at greatly reduced cost, and information technology systems are increasingly reliant on high-speed telephone lines. As City buildings are connected externally to fiber optic or HFC lines, future telephone system upgrades can take advantage of this very high bandwidth infrastructure if City buildings are internally wired with Category 5e or higher bandwidth wiring. Within buildings, telephone lines and data networks should be terminated in the same area in order that any line may be used for any purpose.
The City of Fullerton should negotiate with its cable TV provider for the non-exclusive right of its provider to offer HFC-based service to businesses in Fullerton.
Adelphia representatives informed Task Force members that the current franchise agreement with the City precludes Adelphia from offering cable modem services to small businesses. The Task Force supports all forms of competition for the provision of broadband telecom service to Fullerton businesses, institutions and residents.
The City of Fullerton should facilitate the creation of wireless "hot zones" that include the City's redevelopment areas 1, 2, and 3, libraries, high schools, institutions of higher education, major city facilities, the North Orange County Courthouse, the transportation center, and St. Jude Medical Center.
Most major cities in the United States are now planning or implementing some type of wireless system. Several sources of information on these systems can be accessed on the Internet at www.freenetworks.org, www.nycwireless.net, www.seattlewireless.net, www.nocat.net, and www.guerrilla.net.
Wireless "hot zones" are specific regions in the city that are served by fixed and/or mobile wireless technology. Fixed and mobile wireless technology can lower bandwidth costs within the City, improve the quality of life for technology workers and residents, and help spur technological innovation.
Where it is not cost effective to connect buildings to existing fiber optic lines, it might be more cost effective to deploy fixed wireless technology. The deployment of a fixed wireless infrastructure would require that high bandwidth, land-based network connections be run to a handful of tall buildings and/or wireless towers. From these points, high bandwidth connections could be wirelessly beamed to dishes throughout the City. In addition to reduced installation and maintenance costs associated with fixed wireless technology, routing much of Fullerton's bandwidth traffic through a few select points within the City might allow volume discounts to be negotiated with carriers, lowering the cost of bandwidth to businesses within the City.
Inexpensive mobile wireless technology has typically been deployed on university and large corporate campuses, in airports, hotels, and convention centers, and in Starbucks coffee shops, but it is now spreading beyond those sites. Deploying a mobile wireless infrastructure and creating wireless "hot zones" will allow technology workers to access the Internet from their laptops and personal digital assistants outside of the confines of their offices at data rates of 11 Mbps or greater. This capability will serve to enhance the quality of life for those workers by enabling them to utilize the Downtown and other public places more frequently. Residents and students, especially those at CSUF, Fullerton College and other institutions of higher education, will benefit similarly from a mobile wireless infrastructure.
Lastly, wireless "hot zones" will serve as an experimental test bed for innovative companies and students designing new wireless technologies that, otherwise, could not afford to engage in this area of product development.
The City of Fullerton, through its public library, should work with Fullerton educational institutions to provide training and make very high broadband Internet service available to community residents at school media centers after normal school hours and at other appropriate public and non-profit facilities.
Digital divide is the term used to describe the well-documented phenomenon that less affluent families tend not to have as much access to computers and the Internet as more affluent families. Many communities that are aware of the digital divide have taken steps to provide special opportunities for those families that are less computer literate. Santa Ana, for example, has established community accessible computer facilities with Internet access at schools, work centers, libraries and community centers throughout its lower income neighborhoods (Orange County Register, February 15, 2002). Grants are likely to be available to support this type of initiative and many creative solutions involving partnerships of for-profit and non-profit organizations are possible.
The City of Fullerton should establish a working group consisting of representatives of all sectors of the Fullerton community interested in very high broadband telecom service to assist with development of the telecom master plan.
The ultimate goal of the master plan is to create a VHB telecom plan that will serve the current and future needs of all segments of the Fullerton community. Eventually the customized Internet services and community intranet that are being developed by Greenfield Communications for Amerige Heights, or a similar system, should be created or extended to the whole Fullerton community.
It is apparent from the telecom infrastructure map in Figure 1 that Fullerton is well served by fiber and HFC, although they belong to several carriers and a cable TV company. Fiber is accessible in most of the major thoroughfares in the Downtown business and industrial districts. Residential areas including K-12 schools are potentially well served by HFC. It remains to be determined if it will be possible to create one or more community-wide, VHB systems utilizing these existing components.
The City of Fullerton should hire a consultant and work closely with well known, experienced firms such as Alcatel, Nortel, Corning, Lucent, Cisco, SBC Pacific Bell, Adelphia, Greenfield Communications, Gatehouse Networks, Competisys, etc. in defining telecommunication standards and best practices and developing the telecommunication master plan.
The Task Force recommends that the City of Fullerton define a specific set of telecommunication standards and guidelines for internal cabling in both new and reconstructed buildings in the City. The standards and guidelines should be based upon the latest proven copper, fiber optic, hybrid-fiber-coax (HFC), and wireless technologies and updated as these technologies improve.
New construction/major remodeling projects should adhere to the "Masterformat" of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI).
The intent of this recommendation is to propose specific processes/procedures to insure that the City of Fullerton will have the highest bandwidth and highest speed for all voice, video, and data infrastructure throughout the City. This implementation will make the City a desirable business relocation point in Southern California. It will also attract quality developers/builders of commercial and residential developments. They will be able to use the infrastructure as a valuable benefit in their construction projects. This implementation will address new construction and major, permitted remodeling of existing structures. Both will encompass the same guidelines.
Low voltage design requirements are outlined specifically in Division 16 titled "Electrical." It is expected that in the near future the CSI will adopt a new Division titled Division 17, which will become the Specification for the Technology portion of the design. Once this is adopted, the City will need to update the Specification requirement to represent this change.
To assure the highest level of conformity to the "best practices" for the installation of the Cabling Infrastructure in new construction and major, permitted, remodeling, the standards (or equivalent recognized standards) in the following references will provide these guidelines:
Telecom Distribution Methods Manual (2 volumes) 2000
LAN & Internetworking Design Manual (2 volumes) 1999
LAN & Internetworking Applications Guide 1999
Customer Owned Outside Plant 2001
These references are available through the following source:
BICSI World Headquarters
8610 Hidden River Pkwy.
Tampa, FL 33637-1000 USA
Phone: 800-242-7402 or 813-979-1991
Telephony cabling in new and reconstructed buildings should, at a minimum, be Category 5e or better unless the developer/owner can justify on a cost/use basis that this standard should not be met. Furthermore, provision should be made, whenever appropriate, for connecting the buildings, now or in the future, to a very high bandwidth metropolitan area network with fiber optic, hybrid fiber coax cable or fixed wireless.
Labor is the greatest cost in wiring buildings for voice service. At relatively small incremental cost, new buildings and those undergoing reconstruction or substantial remodeling can be wired internally with a very high bandwidth infrastructure that will support voice, video, data and other telecom services as they become available. Major home builders and master developers such as Lennar, Toll Brothers, Standard Pacific and SunCal (Amerige Heights) are routinely installing Category 5e wiring in their homes.
Installation of conduit to the curb or some other likely point of very high bandwidth telecom service at the time of construction is an inexpensive, cost-effective way of preparing new and reconstructed buildings for very high bandwidth service. The City's new Basque Maintenance Yard, for example, was wired with Category 5 wiring and empty 4-inch conduit was laid for future broadband service.
The Task Force recommends that the City of Fullerton strongly urge major developers/builders to incorporate fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) telecom infrastructure for video, data, and voice service in their new projects.
Fiber optic cable has the greatest bandwidth of all telecommunication technologies and is the most scalable of all the broadband technologies. The cost of fiber installation is competitive with other types of telecom infrastructure for new construction, thereby making it the preferred telecom solution for major, new developments.
SunCal is incorporating an FTTB system in its Amerige Heights development. Homes are also being internally wired with Category 5 cabling for voice, video, and high-speed data transmission. The system will be installed and operated by Greenfield Communications which will lease access to Adelphia for TV service and SBC PacBell for voice service. Greenfield will also create a community intranet.
Next Section: TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS: C. Recommendations Pertaining to Technology-related Economic Development