The community of Yolo County, including the County and four cities (Davis, West Sacramento, Winters, and Woodland) are embarking on a collaborative broadband planning study coordinated by Yolo LAFCo to determine how we can best ensure that our businesses, residents community anchors have access to affordable, high-quality and high-speed broadband services that will meet their long-term needs. The study will focus on determining the current and future broadband needs of our communities and develop a Broadband Strategic Plan that addresses those needs, identifying key public and private initiatives that support the overall mission of equipping our community for the digital economy.Yolo LAFCo Broadband Strategic Plan 03.26.15Appendix H Policy TemplatesUnincorporated Communities Excerpt
Why Next-Generation Broadband is Important for Yolo County
Next-generation broadband has far-reaching applications that enhance our communities and improve the overall quality of life of our citizens, enabling opportunities for our businesses and supporting our key community functions such as education, healthcare, public safety and government. It is vital for economic growth, both by fostering new industries and expanding opportunities for existing businesses. Next-generation broadband also reaches many facets of everyday life by improving the delivery of healthcare services, enriching the educational experiences of children and adults, helping with the management and conservation of energy resources, assisting public safety personnel in keeping our communities safe and facilitating citizen interaction with government agencies.
For suburban to rural communities like Yolo County, broadband development has been slow to evolve. In metropolitan areas where demand is greatest, citizens and businesses have access to a diversity of broadband services at affordable rates. In suburban and rural communities in which demand is lower, citizens and businesses lack this access and often pay significantly more for services, services that are not competitive with those found in metropolitan areas. As a result, suburban to rural communities like Yolo County do not have the opportunity to take advantage of many online applications requiring next-generation broadband. This makes local businesses less efficient in their operations, schools less equipped to bring online resources to students, hospitals less able to provide remote care to patients and citizens less equipped to use online applications to manage their daily lives.
What is Next-Generation Broadband?
Next-generation broadband is not a system or a technology but rather refers to speed and capacity (“bandwidth”) of a network connection. It refers to local connectivity that is always on (“no dial-up”) and maintains high-speed connection to the Internet enabling super-fast downloads and uploads. Next-generation broadband networks have the potential to dramatically change, enhance and transform the types of applications and services currently available through today’s existing technologies, which include DSL, cable and wireless. Next-generation broadband brings significantly greater speeds to homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and other organizations in our community, allowing them to take advantage of the latest applications, applications that require very high speeds.
How is Next-Generation Broadband Different?
Today, most broadband services are provided by DSL, cable or wireless. These systems provide Internet connectivity to residents, businesses and community organizations through copper cabling installed between a service provider’s equipment and the end user’s location. Broadband signals travel across the copper wiring in the same manner as electricity that powers our homes. This is a key issue with copper-based broadband systems. The farther the signal travels, the more it degrades resulting in a lower “bandwidth,” or speed, to the end user. This means users close to the service provider’s equipment will have stronger signal and higher “bandwidth” while users far away from the service provider’s equipment will have weaker signal and lower “bandwidth.” Users farther away from the service provider’s equipment will often experience slow Internet service and periodic connection issues as a result.
A second issue with current broadband services results from the use of shared broadband systems common to DSL, cable and wireless broadband connections. Collections of users in the same service area will “share” access to bandwidth on the service provider network. As more users are added to the network, there is more contention for the available bandwidth. As a result, the systems become “overcrowded” with users, which reduces each user’s access to the available bandwidth. The users experience slow downs in their Internet service, periodic connectivity issues and outages as a result.
In contrast to copper-based, shared broadband systems, next-generation broadband provides dedicated bandwidth to each individual user with few distance limitations. These systems generally utilize fiber-optic cabling to deliver consistent, reliable Internet services to users at much greater speeds and without the “shared” bandwidth issues often found in DSL, cable and wireless systems. In addition, next-generation broadband has few bandwidth limitations allowing users to access all applications, particularly those that require high bandwidth and high reliability including real-time video, virtual healthcare, online education, home control, safety and security and on-demand video.