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City of Cortez completes fiber-to-the-home project

By Donna Donnowitz
May 16, 2011
The City of Cortez, Colorado, recently completed its plans to work with OFS and deploy a fiber-to-the-home network throughout its jurisdiction. The new network will enable commerce by giving businesses access to advanced internet services while also allowing consumers to access high-quality multimedia through new internet plans.

Typically, a fiber-to-the-home installation will be accompanied by some form of fiber-to-Ethernet converter to connect internal Ethernet infrastructure in homes and businesses to the external fiber-optic network.

"The multiphase FTTH plan for the City of Cortez is an open access/open service model of deploying high capacity fiber to the community," said Rick Smith, city general services director for the City of Cortez. "The open access model means that Cortez will not be providing the services to end-users, but instead partnering with area service providers who will use the system to bring high capacity services to the businesses and enterprises that request the service."

The project's initial funding was provided by the Southwest Colorado Council of Governments, who obtained a state grant for $1 million. The City of Cortez then invested a 25 percent match of what the state grant provided to make the fiber installation possible. Over time, the city hopes to use the project to spur the local economy by drawing major companies to the region and becoming a popular site for data center projects. Both goals are dependent on the fast speeds and bandwidth capabilities offered by fiber-optic cabling.

John George, director of systems and applications engineering for OFS, the company that helped the city install the fiber-optic line, said the project centered around an underground installation of a central fiber conduit that connected to distribution cabinets that then connected the wiring to businesses.

The initial project connected the new network to anchor locations within the city that already had access to fiber-optic connections, George said. The project is expected to continue expanding to reach a wider base of homes and businesses in the near future, he explained.

Fiber-to-the-home projects could get an important boost from fiber-to-the-cellsite projects. Broadband Properties Magazine reports a growing trend of using fiber-to-the-home technologies to deploy fiber-to-the-cellsite networks. These fiber-optic networks are used to anchor wireless internet and mobile phone services within a region. According to Connected Planet, such installations are typically so close to residential areas that they could lead to more fiber-to-the-home projects in the near future.


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