What is fiber anyway?
Here's a couple of short videos describing the technology:
Fiber 101 (5:45) - Video by Corning, a leading manufacturer of fiber optic cables
How Does Light Carry Data? (5:41) - Another informational video explaining fiber optics.
What does it mean to "build a fiber network"?
We're all familiar with utility poles and the wires up there. To build a fiber network means stringing fiber optic cable along poles (or in underground conduit) throughout Milton, alongside the telephone and cable wires already there, very much like in this picture:
Its route would pass by and connect all of Milton's municipal facilities (schools, fire, police, town hall, DPW, libraries), and all of our community's anchor institutions too (Milton Hospital, Curry College, Milton Academy, etc.)
Once completed Milton's municipal network would be called a "middle mile" network.
After the network's middle mile component is built the next phase entails hooking up all of Milton's homes and local businesses. This part of the network is called the "last mile".
Do we need to raise taxes to build a municipal network?
No, we do not.
Nearly all municipal networks are funded using methods other than taxes, such as revenue bonds and cost savings. It's also worth exploring the possibility of federal or state grants, as well as various municipal funds that can be applied to these projects.
In practice it's typically a combination of some or all of these methods.
This document is a nice summary of those other methods.
What about 5G?
The question of 5G often comes up in discussions about municipal broadband networks. If you're not familiar with 5G, it refers to the next generation of wireless speed and capacity.
The question arises because people wonder why we would need a new wired network (like fiber) if wireless is getting faster.
The answer is because all wireless technologies (including 5G) rely on fiber networks! Next generation wireless technologies are complementary to fiber networks; they cannot replace them.
By building our own 100% fiber network in Milton, we will put ourselves in a position to roll out and manage future wireless technologies at our own pace, making sure to put the needs of our community before the needs of big telecom.
Big telecom companies may want us to believe otherwise, but 5G is not the answer to our current broadband needs.