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Open Access

An Open Access network is a conduit and fiber network where the network owner leases out access to the network to anyone who wants access. "Tenants" could be one or more Internet Service Providers (even incumbant telcos), but also wireless carriers who need fiber for their cell towers, utilities for infrastructure monitoring and control, and municipalities for security and traffic cameras.

Designing and operating an Open Access network is slightly different than building a regular FTTH network as you must allow for more fiber since you potentially have more service providers that may want more access to fiber going to each resident.

There are companies that will finance, own, and operate Open Access networks. Typically these projects must be of a certain size to make economic sense. A startup Open Access network provider might be interested in a dense 5,000 home community, while others would only be interested in larger communities.

If you can attract an Open Access network provider to your community, it would likely be an attractive option. Even if some subsidy is required, having a network in place that can accomodate multiple service providers, even competing ISPs, with little financing required, is very compelling.

Netly is a company that funds and builds open access networks. Click here to read a case study about Netly and a small 6,000 person municipality.

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