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Preliminary Analysis of WiMAX Opportunities for the Town of Manchester

Contributors: Dave Mechler, Jack McCoy, Rob Hustis, Ron Masse, Rich Gallagher

Executive Summary The analysis covers a community benefit and a two-case scenario for its implementation. Community benefit: New low-cost, high-bandwidth Internet access for the public and for municipal and education services. Two-case scenario: 1. Partnership between Town and commercial Internet service provider for provision to the public of wireless Internet access and provision to Town operations of wireless FiberNet access. 2. Municipal enterprise for provision to the public of wireless Internet access and provision to Town operations of wireless FiberNet access. Introduction The Town of Manchester is a technologically advanced community that is continually committed to considering--and incorporating where determined to have potential--many new technologies to promote the smooth and efficient operation of current and future governmental, educational, and public safety systems. This analysis responds to the potential for the introduction of wireless communication technology that has the capability for going beyond operational municipal efficiencies and into the realm of increasing access to municipal information resources and the Internet as a whole. The enabling technology for this possibility is the Town of Manchesters implementation of its city-wide FiberNet, a 50-mile-long, Town-owned fiber-optic network that interconnects its public buildings to permit Town and BOE employee access to shared, distributed, and centralized computer resources, including the Internet at large and other external systems. The direct wireless technology being explored in this document is based on the recently passed IEEE National Standard 802.16, commonly called WiMAX. On a limited scale the Town already has implemented WiFi wireless Internet access (per the earlier IEEE standard 802.11b) over the Town FiberNet from both portable and fixed-base computing devices on its Main Street. The limitation on the Main Street WiFi Internet access requires that a person using this system be situated within a modest distance (e.g., 150 feet) of Town-owned wireless access points installed in the downtown Main Street area. Thus free wireless access to the Internet is currently provided to Town and BOE employees as well as to Town residents and any other members of the public desiring Internet connectivity while they are in the downtown Manchester area. With the recent acceptance of the long-awaited IEEE standard 802.16 for even wider-area wireless access to computer networks (e.g., across multi-mile distances within a

metropolitan area like Manchester), the Town of Manchester now wishes to consider the implementation of this WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) access to its FiberNet. This Town-wide accessibility--to the Internet and beyond--would be offered to the citizenry of Manchester and would also be used by Town and BOE personnel in and outside of their work locations around the Town. The following sections consider the workings of WiMAX and how WiMAX fits into the existing and planned communications infrastructure of the Town of Manchester; the uses to which WiMAX accessibility can be put by both the public and Town and BOE employees; various alternatives to financing and implementing WiMAX across the whole Town of Manchester (i.e., with and without public-utility involvement); and issues, opportunities, and risks associated with the implementation of WiMAX in Manchester. What is WiMAX? WiMAX is a standards-based technology which serves as a wireless extension or alternative to DSL or cable for broadband (i.e., faster than 1.5Mbps) access to IP-based networks and the Internet. It utilizes microwave communication in the 2 66GHz range to connect WiMAX-enabled fixed, portable, and mobile computers to a base station PC which in turn connects to an IP network (e.g., the Manchester FiberNet) and then to the Internet. WiMAX is similar to, but more powerful than, the currently implemented WiFi access to the FiberNet. Communication can take place over much longer distances than with WiFi (miles vs. hundreds of feet), and by utilizing an array of antennas, each supporting one or more base stations, user PCs distributed across a very large geographical area (e.g., the entire Town) can all have FiberNet and Internet access without requiring a wired DSL or cabled connection. The communication occurs either on licensed frequencies (lower likelihood of interference with other WiMAX service providers in the area) or in an unlicensed part of the 2-66 GHz radio spectrum (perhaps free of cost, but possibly subject to lower radiated power restrictions and/or higher level of interference). The release by the IEEE of the 802.16 standard for the WiMAX protocol has occurred over the past few years, with the specific updated standard 802.16e, covering WiMAX communication with mobile devices, having been accepted and released in December 2005. Vendors are already in the process of developing chipsets to provide WiMAX capability to PCs, targeting market release in 2006. Indeed, WiMAX and WiFi are different protocols and will probably require specific PC and base station (or access point) hardware for implementation and use. Vendors currently speak of delivering laptops to market which will have both WiFi and WiMAX capability resident in a single PC. WiMAX and WiFi can co-exist in the same geographical area and in service of the same networked community of users. What then does WiMAX offer that WiFi does not? The advantage of communication over miles of distance rather than feet is clear. Beyond that, WiMAX supports higher information bandwidth than WiFi. Further, the WiMAX protocol affords higher Quality

of Service because as user contention for microwave tower facilities approaches its limit, a users connection can be handed off to another less crowded tower, assuring level service quality. On the other hand, WiMAX, as a much newer technology, does not yet enjoy the lower cost of base station and user equipment that resulted from the proliferation of WiFi home/business installations and hotspot sites. However, WiMAX hardware prices should drop as economies of scale in the manufacture of equipment arise from user demand. Fit For Towns Current Computer-network Just how would WiMAX fit into the Towns current computer-network architecture? Effective metropolitan area implementation of network access opportunity involves the installation of an array of WiMAX-supportive microwave antennas providing overlapping coverage cells to users. This is readily afforded in Manchester by locating the antennas at several, or all, of the municipal building locations served (i.e., linked to each other) by the FiberNet. These building locations are not concentrated geographically and indeed span a large part of the Town of Manchester. Using these buildings as pseudo-tower sites immediately provides the required connectivity into the FiberNet, and the latter then provides the connection to the Internet. Thus users of WiMAX-capable devices located anywhere, or nearly anywhere, in Manchester could communicate with the nearest antenna and thereby obtain Internet access wirelessly. The Town and BOE Infrastructure The enabling technology currently in place in Manchester would allow the deployment of WiMAX wireless internet connectivity for all residents, effectively bringing a new, powerful and potentially inexpensive way of connecting to the Internet and to the Towns FiberNet-connected computing and communications facilities. The infrastructure in place at present includes: A 50-mile routing of FiberNet connections forming a highly meshed, multiplyredundant, wideband communications network; Forty-plus Town-owned building locations that could support WiMAX antenna facilities expected to provide more-than-acceptable signal strength across the entirety of Manchester (whether over line of sight between antenna and user, or not); and High-speed routing equipment in each building site to pass communications traffic bi-directionally under full network management.

Refer to the map of building locations and groupings, with the FiberNet ring topology indicated. Other tower locations may be required in order to provide access to absolutely every corner of the Town. This aspect requires a determination beyond the scope of this preliminary analysis (example: Garth Road TelCo. Proposal, see Issues and Opportunities below).

Applications of WiMAX Accessibility Government, Education and Public Safety would have enhanced intra-net data communications access with WiMAX. Of equal or greater importance, the Public would have a greater choice of Internet access facilities from which to choose. WiMAX would join the currently available wired Cable Modem and DSL facilities, thus providing a potentially higher bandwidth than the 768kbps to 15 Mbps range of the current DSL and cable modem offerings, and quite possibly at a fraction of the cost although in a less secure manner. VOIP (IP telephone), private data, and Internet access from mobile or fixed-but-notwired locations all become possible with the higher user-available bandwidths and protocol-inherent antenna-transfer capability made possible over a WiMAX-connected link into the FiberNet. The higher bandwidth aspect could support home access to videoconferencing and to other video offerings than would be available with DSL, cable, or WiFi access methods at their currently provided speeds. WiMAX Implementation Scenarios At least two scenarios are envisioned for the implementation of Town-wide, WiMAXbased access to the FiberNet, Internet and beyond. The Town could partner with a public communications utility (e.g., Telco, CableCo, ElectricCo). WiMAX communications equipment, including antennae, owned by the public utility partner would be installed in the aforementioned Town/BOE buildings and would be operated and maintained by the public utility. Members of the public (e.g., Town residents with appropriate Internet-access accounts) would be charged for WiMAX access to the Internet that proceeds via the FiberNet. The Town and the public utility share the revenues received. With or without partnering with a commercial vendor, the Town could procure, implement, operate, and maintain its own WiMAX antennas and WiMAX communications equipment. The Town could offer Internet access services for free or if allowed by the DPUC at a nominal charge, that would enhance availability to residents who cant afford the roughly $50 per month for Cable and DSL wired Internet service. (Additionally Internet and town FiberNet connectivity could be enhanced through provision of the mobile data aspects of WiMAX that dont currently exist in current mobile Internet communications products a benefit to public safety as well as to public internet users.)

Internet access is becoming a quality-of-life influencing resource that a community can insure is being made available to their citizens. The above two scenarios assure this new communications capability would be brought to the community while possibly producing a revenue stream accruing to the Town to cover the cost of operation.

Issues and Opportunities There are several issues which impact consideration of a Town-wide WiMAX implementation in Manchester. Garth Road Cell Tower: Sprint Communications has raised the possibility of installing a tower on Garth Road to improve its commercial cellular telephone service in that area of Manchester. This tower could serve as a location for WiMAX communication equipment (the equipment then being used to communicate both with WiMAX users and the nearest FiberNet-connected WiMAX antenna location). The Cell Tower is expected to provide the benefit of improved and increased cell phone service in the area, and if WiMAX antenna space were made part of the agreement this would develop the potential to offer high-bandwidth neighborhood wireless Internet access at low, or no, cost to residents. Legal Risk: Incumbent communications utilities and/or competitive service providers may oppose the Towns offering its resident free or low-cost Internet access. Lengthy legal maneuvering and adjudication before the Connecticut Department of Public Utilities or the State judicial system could result. Any utility, service provider, or vendor standing in opposition to the Town must be made to realize the potential that their partnering with the Town, instead of opposing it, would result in (a) improvements to their current product offering (e.g., by delivering WiMAX service in addition to their cable, wireline, or cellular products), and (b) participation in revenue-sharing with the Town. A mutually beneficial arrangement could be realized through partnership, but the emergence of community rights and oligopoly power issues, which would need to be resolved through statutory, regulatory, or judicial actions are possible as well.

Possible Financial Model

Model File Name: WiMaxFinancialModelGuestimate

Wireless Enterprise Analysis

Prelimiary Estimate: Wireless (WiMax - IEEE 802.16 Standard) Manchester Financial Model I Revenue $3.00-9.00 / month X x000 households 5000 per Year $3.00 15,000 $180,000 Minimum model rate Maximum model rate $9.00 45,000 $540,000 A. Step = Town Telco partnership $x/town for site and electrical $1.00 $5,000 $60,000 $ y/ Telco for Implementation and op's $2.00 $10,000 $120,000 $3.00 Model rate B. Step = Town Enterprise no charge to households: free Wireless Internet $120,000 Town User Savings {included in Tax base} II Capital Costs for Construction Parts List Model: Antenna (IEEE 802.16 standard) Base Stations (IEEE 802.16 standard) possible "foundry" suppliers: Intel, Fujitsu/WiLAN, Huawei etc. Router / Switch (Layer 3) Power over Ethernet Fixtures Fiber strands splicing Parts Subtotal: Installation Labor (from Vendor {or Info.Sys} = 2 person-days per site) Total Capital Cost: Legal issues ? CRCOG/CCM/CREC/NLC Legislative Lobbying ? $0


<-Use to be con

Year Payback {Im

Year Payback {Im

Forgo revenue an

Startup: 18 month +/- quarter

1,000 1,000

35 35

$35,000 $35,000

(in IP Telephony as sunk re-usable costs from pa 500 35 $17,500

(In-place from FiberNet sunk re-usable past proje 1000 35 35000 $122,500 $3,500 $4,000 35 $140,000 $262,500

Guess labor cost


Ongoing Maintenance and Service Cost Model Billing costs Call Center: Outsourced / Offshore? By Vendor On-going equipment maintenance per site Town electricity TelCo/CableCo/ElCo supplied Internet link for full town

need "industry" and "Town" tax payer customer c need "industry" and "Town" call per customer rate negligible - expect 5 to 7 year life; some is shared negligible some multiple of what is paid today for Town/BOE

The table above presents a very preliminary estimate of the capital investment costs and possible supporting revenue streams for a WiMAX Enterprise.

Coverage by WiMAX from FiberNet Nodes In Town Building