Bradley attorney Daniel Kaufmann was quoted in Community Broadband on Huntsville’s municipal fiber network. In February 2016, Huntsville and Google Fiber announced a 20-year lease on the city’s dark fiber, which would offer triple-play services to all Huntsville residents and small businesses – about 105,000 addresses altogether. Kaufmann, who helped the city negotiate the lease, explained that the value of a network for service providers depends not on route miles but on how many customers they can connect. The cost to the utility, however, does depend largely on the number of route miles, so the number of ports to install per mile of fiber had to be calculated.
Also, although most fiber owners employ indefeasible rights of use (IRUs) for long-term fiber leases, Huntsville chose not to use that method. Kaufmann said, “An IRU gives an ownership interest to the tenant. Under our state statute, the better course of action is for the utility to own the network. As it’s operating an electric system, it needs to be in sole control of the network. The utility’s customers are going to be dependent on the network’s working, so it didn’t want multiple owners.”
The complete article, “Huntsville Becomes a Gig City,” appeared in the October 2017 issue of Community Broadband.