Warner Robins, Georgia is a step closer to becoming a gigabit city and a smart city. Warner Robins announced a public-partnership with open access provider A2D today to provide the city’s fiber infrastructure.
A2D will build out and maintain a citywide fiber infrastructure but will not offer broadband service over it. Instead, Warner Robins will work with private providers to offer subscription services over A2D’s fiber.
The setup is a unique one. City officials said that broadband service providers weren’t offering a suitable level of service on their own, so in a way, the city is taking matters into its own hands but not entirely. Rather than launching a municipal broadband service of its own, Warner Robins wants to work with providers but they’re upending the economics argument that is typically put up as an excuse for limiting service outside of urban centers. A2D’s open access architecture allows providers to run subscription services over their fiber infrastructure. The partnership plan is designed to support both high speed broadband access and the city’s plan for smart cities applications.
CenturyLink has offered services over A2D fiber in other cities. A complete list of partner providers for Warner Robins was not available at the time of this writing.
The fiber network is already under construction and will be rolled out phases. Phase I will connect all municipal facilities by September of this year. A2D anticipates that it will start connecting homes and businesses in the summer of this year. According to a statement from the company, partner broadband providers are preparing new subscription offerings including gigabit access, smart home services, IPTV and direct access applications.
Expanding broadband has been fraught in Georgia. State lawmakers have worked to limit municipal broadband deployments even while rural and midsized cities struggle to get private providers to build. Bills that would effectively preempt municipal authority and cap fees municipalities can charge private providers are currently winding their way through the Georgia legislature. It’s murky, but a hybrid solution like what Warner Robins is doing could work in localities that have the resources.