This project is in the planning phase as the City continues to explore the possibility of bringing dedicated broadband to Hidden Hills. With your support, the City hopes to bring all residents true fiber internet which is at least 10 to 100 times faster and more reliable than current internet services in Hidden Hills.
The most reliable and efficient way to deliver high-speed internet is over fiber. Fiber, literally glass fibers about the diameter of a human hair, transmits data at speeds far exceeding current DSL, cable, or dial-up speeds. The same fiber providing your broadband is also capable of simultaneously delivering voice and video services to you, including video streaming.
Residents in Hidden Hills have not yet had widespread access to this level of high-speed internet. It is typically expensive to install fiber and extend a broadband network to a new geographic area. However, the City is working to make this possible so that residents can enjoy the speed, reliability, and other advantages of high-speed internet.
In 2017, the City Council adopted a goal to Consider the development of a broadband enhancement program or strategy within the City. Shortly thereafter, an Ad-hoc Committee of two Council Members was formed to begin working on this goal. The following is a highlight of key dates and progress of the project:
- November 2019 – Agreement with Magellan Advisors to serve as consultant
- March 2020 – RFP issued seeking proposals for construction and operation
- November 2020 – Magellan provided a series of next steps to the City Council including performing a subscriber survey
- April 2021 – Magellan reported on results of survey
- April 2021 – City Council entered into an agreement with NHA Advisors to research and provide financing options
- July 2021 – NHA reported findings
- November 2021 – City Council authorized the following: (1) authorize staff to negotiate with the Hidden Hills Community Association for necessary easements and encroachments to construct fiber network; (2) begin process to obtain funding through lease revenue bonds or a public offering; and (3) begin negotiations with preferred partner on a project agreement
- January 2022 – City staff began discussions with the HHCA on necessary easements and permissions
We received your input!
The City developed a survey in 2021 to understand the demand among the community for high-speed internet. The survey results were clear. A significant number of residents support this project and the City’s efforts to bring fiber to the home. A total of 352 responses were received from the survey with 95% of responders indicating they would subscribe to a City-owned fiber network. When asked about satisfaction of resident’s current internet service, “reliability” was the leading category of unsatisfied with “speed” being second.
The term “broadband” refers to high-speed internet services that provide users access to online content including websites, television shows, videoconferencing, cloud services, or voice conversations. These applications can be accessed and shared through a variety of technologies including personal computers, smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices. Although demands for this high-speed data are rapidly increasing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines broadband speeds as at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. Cable, DSL, fiber, and wireless are the prime broadband delivery systems used to meet these demands by connecting users to the internet.
Fiber-optic cables (or just “fiber”) are strands of glass the diameter of a human hair that carry waves of light. Unlike other connections that carry electrons across copper wire, fiber supports fast, reliable connections by using photons across glass, giving it the capacity to carry nearly unlimited amounts of data across long distances at spectacularly fast speeds. Because of this speed and reliability, fiber is considered the gold standard for supporting broadband across the full spectrum of devices and applications. Fiber’s usability and resiliency have brought fiber to the forefront of broadband, making it a highly desired asset for all entities, public and private, that own or control it. If properly maintained, fiber-optic cable has a lifespan of up to forty years. Due to its capacity for transmitting large amounts of data at high speeds, it will remain a preferred communications infrastructure type and will be essential for backhauling wireless communications for many years to come. The availability of a reliable, cost-effective fiber connection creates opportunities for the communities it serves.
Broadband is deployed throughout communities as wired cables or wireless technologies that carry digital signals to and from users. The content comes into the local community from around the world via global, national and regional networks. The local infrastructure is built, connected and operated by internet and telecommunications companies that own the physical wires to each household. This started with telephone companies, which deployed twisted-pair copper telephone lines. The second wire came from television companies in the form of coaxial cable. Later satellite and wireless phone companies provided video and voice, with more flexibility to mobile and remote devices using radio waves. Beginning in the mid-1990s these companies repurposed their infrastructures to connect to the internet and carry digital content.
Infrastructure built on the older technologies is aging and results in slower, less reliable access to content. Capacity limits of this infrastructure of the infrastructure limit service providers’ ability to reliably provide high speeds, and in turn, the amount of data consumers can use is also limited. Fiber provides the robust infrastructure that connect telephone, cable, and internet infrastructure between communities and around the world. It was originally used by telecommunications for their core infrastructure, to connect their major switching centers, and was only available to their biggest corporate and institutional customers. Today, fiber-optic networks serve homes and businesses throughout the world providing telephone and television as well as internet access services.
With fiber-optic broadband networks, speeds in the billions of bits per second range are possible. The fiber-optic network today operates at nearly 300 Terabits per second, which is so fast that a single fiber could carry all the traffic on the internet. More commonly, fiber-optic networks provide between 100 Mbps and 10 Gbps to users. Fiber-optic networks can be designed to be highly reliable as well as fast. Fiber-optics are used extensively by major corporations and institutions and are beginning to be at the core of every telecom company’s network.
Q: Why is broadband so important for communities?
A: As more of our lives transition to the digital world, access to the internet and its multitude of applications becomes increasingly important. While it was once just a complement to our physical lives, the virtual world has now become a crucial part of what we do every day. Online applications for business, health, education, security and entertainment have all become integrated into our daily routines. These applications and new ones continue to grow at an alarming pace. To function, they must be carried across high-speed, reliable broadband infrastructure, which we can think of as the highway system for the electronic world.
Local roads feed into state roads, which feed into the interstate highway system to interconnect individuals to the country’s infrastructure. Similarly, local broadband infrastructure connects to regional and national high-speed networks that interconnect with the global Internet. If local broadband infrastructure is insufficient, (i.e. local roads are insufficient), users (drivers) will have difficulty accessing the global Internet (interstate highway system).
Therefore, broadband access is critical to ensure that users are able to reach the electronic world over a reliable, high-speed local broadband infrastructure. Without this, the applications they use everyday breakdown.
Q: What is broadband infrastructure?
A: Broadband infrastructure consists of the cabling and electronics that wires homes and businesses into the local telecommunications or cable company offices. From these offices, connections to other communications networks and the Internet are made, interconnecting local users with Internet, telephone, television and other services.
Q: What is bandwidth?
A: In a network, bandwidth (what engineers call bitrate) is the ability to carry information. The more bandwidth a network has, the more information it can carry in a given amount of time. Networks with high bandwidth also tend to be more reliable because fewer bottlenecks disturb the flow of information.
Q: How much bandwidth do we need?
A: The amount of bandwidth we need grows every year. The largest growth has been for video – traditional pay TV, “over the top” or Internet-based video, and video communications. This trend is expected to continue at least for the rest of this decade. Video requires not only extra bandwidth but also extra reliability. Additionally, Internet-based video applications continue to push more and more bandwidth, such as Hulu and Netflix. Business applications have become more bandwidth-intensive and also need reliability to function correctly.
Q: What about other kinds of data?
A: Bandwidth requirements for many kinds of data are exploding. For example, new digital cameras can create larger and larger images; 30 megabytes is not uncommon. In health care, the medical images produced by equipment such as CT scanners are a hundred times larger than camera images. In the last few years, many industries have entered the era of “Big Data” applications that collect and analyze data on massive scales. Today’s Big Data applications range from consumer pricing models to online marketing to DNA sequencing to particle physics to control of electrical grids. Big Data doesn’t work without broadband services that maintain high bandwidth and reliability.
Q: Can’t copper carry high bandwidth?
A: Copper, which includes broadband systems such as DSL and cable, can carry far less capacity than fiber-optic. It can support high bandwidth for only a few hundred yards, since it is a distance sensitive technology. The longer a signal travels on copper, the more the bandwidth degrades and the less data that is available. Fiber-optic is unique in that it can carry high-bandwidth signals over enormous distances. Fiber uses laser light to carry these signals. Under some circumstances, a signal can travel 40 miles (60 kilometers) without degrading. Fiber is also better able to support symmetrical bandwidth. Symmetrical bandwidth provides the same speed in both directions, whereas many copper-based broadband carries different speeds, such as 6 Mbps down, 2 Mbps up. Symmetrical bandwidth is important as it provides high speeds in both directions, not just on downloads.
Q: What about wireless? Can IT provide high-speed broadband?
A: Many wireless broadband systems are shared technologies whereby each user on the system shares bandwidth among other users. Cellular, 3G, 4G and LTE systems are similar. In these cases, users do not receive guaranteed bandwidth for their use, if a few users are consuming all of the bandwidth, other users will not receive any. Wireless point-to-point, or microwave systems do have the ability to provide guaranteed bandwidth in some instances and are widely used in areas where fiber-optic is infeasible. However, the carrying capacity of these wireless systems is far less than fiber-optic.
The fifth generation of mobile wireless networks, known as 5G, became commercially available in 2020 and increased maturity of the network will take place in subsequent years. 5G networks operate multiple frequencies using millimeter wavelengths to offer anticipated download/upload speeds of 1 Gbps. The networks are designed to provide increased efficiencies while decreasing latency and are designed for improving the performance of connected devices that define the Internet of Things. Examples include autonomous vehicles, healthcare monitoring technologies, ultra-high-definition video, virtual reality, and many more applications that are ripe for development.
It should be noted, however, that these wireless networks are not a substitute for a wired fiber-optic network, but are complementary. While users will likely see an increase in speed with the transition to 5G, wireless connections are still dependent on ideal environmental factors including having a line of sight to the small cells for data transmission. Trees, buildings, and even weather can impact the reliability of wireless technologies. Additionally, due to the large amounts of data needed to support a growing number of uses and applications, wireless networks will require wired fiber networks to backhaul information. Due to fiber’s increased capacity and reliability, a wired fiber network enables wireless.
Q: What exactly makes fiber “futureproof”?
A: The equipment used to send light signals over glass fiber keeps getting better. So, equipping an existing fiber network with new electronics and with lasers that pulse light faster, or lasers that use different wavelengths of light, can vastly increase available bandwidth without changing the fiber itself. New electronics are very cheap compared with the original cost of installing the fiber. Therefore, once fiber has been deployed, network operators can keep increasing bandwidth at a much lower cost.
Q: How long has fiber technology been in use?
A: Fiber-optic technology is the foundation of the world’s telecommunications networks. It has been used for more than 30 years to carry communications traffic from city to city and from country to country. Almost every country has some fiber-optic infrastructure, allowing them to deliver services reliably and inexpensively. The first time fiber delivered a signal directly to an American home (in Hunter’s Creek, FL.) was more than 20 years ago.
Q: Isn’t DSL and cable good enough?
A: It’s not good enough to make your community competitive in attracting or supporting a tech-savvy company or home-based businesses. Today’s cable modems and DSL lines may suffice for consumers to send emails, download songs or share family photos. However, healthcare, education, and commerce are steadily requiring more and more bandwidth. Almost 100 communities have deployed fiber broadband networks and more are on the way as communities realize that these types of networks are critical to economic development and competitiveness.
Q: Why aren’t providers upgrading to fiber-optic broadband in my community?
A: One key issue found in many smaller communities is that the smaller demand does not warrant investment in upgraded broadband infrastructure by telecommunications providers and cable companies. In large metropolitan environments, providers can warrant the investment, given high volumes of users, which allow them to realize the return on investment needed for the upgrade. In smaller communities, this is not the case, because demand is lower and their fixed costs remain high. Upgrading communities to widespread fiber-optic broadband services is a significant cost for providers; the current average cost to wire a home for fiber-optic services is $1,200. Multiply that by 20,000 users in a community, and the cost to the provider is $24,000,000. Providers must be assured that they will gain enough market share to generate a reasonable return on this investment. Without a strong uptake, providers will not make the investment. In small communities, this generally holds true and thus, the current infrastructure, which may be DSL or cable, is maintained.