Models for Infrastructure Sharing: United States
Editor’s Note: This Practice Note is an excerpt from a discussion paper entitled Extending Open Access to National Fibre Backbones in Developing Countries prepared by Dr. Tracy Cohen and Russell Southwood for the 8th ITU Global Symposium for Regulators[i].
The MBC Cooperative: United States
The Mid-Atlantic Broadband Co-operative (MBC) covers a rural part of the
The idea for MBC was part of a broader economic development response to these circumstances. It brought together business leaders, representatives of the nearby Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
The initial hurdle to overcome was how to get 20 counties and four cities -- each with its own agendas, ideas and different levels of knowledge of telecommunications -- to work together. Each of these local governments had to be persuaded that it would be better and more cost-effective to build a single network rather than patch together both the funding and construction required for multiple networks.
Eventually a single entity – the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Co-operative – was set up to manage the project, oversee construction, and provide the same infrastructure and network connections for each county and city. Funds totaling USD 48 million came from the Virginia Tobacco Commission (USD 42 million) and the
The network was designed to connect all business and technology parks, providing an incentive for inward location to the area. MBC operates solely as a wholesale carrier. It offers backbone services that anyone can use, including existing carriers such as Verizon and Sprint. MBC offers dark fibre and transport services in layers 1 (physical) and 2 (transport). Its philosophy is to make it easier for other service operators to serve the end user. MBC has laid over 1,100 kms of fibre and has 20 nodes that it calls “multi-media service access points” with OC-48 and OC-192 backbone rings. Any service provider can sign a collocation agreement and put its equipment into one of the MBC facilities. The agreement gives collocators 24-hour key card access and lockable equipment cabinets upon request. Security cameras also are provided for remote monitoring.
In return for obtaining rights of way, MBC gave fibre strands to the local governments for municipal uses – including, for example, traffic sensor services. MBC has provided 12 strands of fibre for public sector use in this way. In order to connect its network nationally and internationally, MBC has links to tier one ISP data locations and is able to arrange cost-effective international transit for its users.
Southside Virginia Coverage
[i] For more information about the GSR, see www.itu.int/ITU-D/treg/Events/Seminars/GSR/index.html;
Direct link to GSR Discussion Papers 2008 at: www.itu.int/ITU-D/treg/Events/Seminars/GSR/GSR08/papers.html
[ii] The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission is its full title and it redistributes money to the local authorities in its area that is given by the tobacco companies as a result of Court action over the dangers of tobacco products.