November 15, 2022 by Joanie Twersky

Want To Become a Broadband Service Provider? Start With These 5 Fundamentals


Joanie Twersky

 Director, Local Government & Utility Partnerships, Calix


Broadband connectivity has become essential to our everyday lives. In a 2021 survey, 76 percent of Americans said internet service is now as important as electricity or water. It’s also integral to our socio-economic future—the availability of broadband attracts new companies, enables new, higher-paying jobs, and boosts real estate values by 3.1 percent.

However, even with massive federal, state, and local funding being poured into broadband infrastructure projects, the FCC estimates that approximately 14.5 million Americans still do not have access to the broadband they need.

There is a huge opportunity for new service providers—like electric cooperatives and municipalities—to build broadband networks that will transform communities and ensure economic growth and vitality for generations to come.

Broadband Academy: The Roadmap You Need To Build Your Broadband Service

Of course, the path from electricity provider or municipality to broadband service provider (BSP) is not always straightforward or easy. That’s why Calix created Broadband Academy. We’re providing the education, training, guidance, and best practices that will help you make the transition to BSP—through self-guided educational content you’ll learn the ins and outs of connecting your community with broadband.

In the first Broadband Academy course, Broadband Services Fundamentals, we share the foundations of building a successful broadband service. Here are five key insights you’ll gain as you take this initial step in becoming a BSP.

  1. Explore the key stages of broadband service deployment. Calix has worked with 86 percent of electric cooperatives and 71 percent of municipalities that have launched broadband services. We use this experience to guide your journey to becoming a BSP. The first lesson in the Fundamentals course will walk you through the key stages of planning and growing your broadband service: fund, design, build, operate, and market.
  2. Learn how broadband networks work. We rely on broadband networks for everything from remote work and online learning to telemedicine and multiplayer gaming. But how does broadband really work? This module will offer an overview of the key components of a broadband network, including the middle mile infrastructure, the access network, and the key equipment used at each point in the network. We’ll also outline the responsibilities you’ll have as a network operator.
  3. Evaluate the connectivity options to determine the best approach for your build. Broadband network technologies include fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, and wireless. Which is the right one for your deployment? You’ll learn the pros and cons of each connectivity option so you can build a future-proof network that will address subscriber requirements not only today but for generations to come.
  4. Scope your project with a comprehensive feasibility study. It is critical to conduct a thorough assessment of your broadband project and the service area you’re considering. You will want to understand the value and viability of your network by researching and analyzing community needs, the competitive landscape, network technology options, and the financial business case. This lesson will explore each of these aspects, as well as the resources you will want to engage as you undertake your feasibility study.
  5. Identify the partners you’ll need to achieve broadband success. Building a broadband service from the ground up is a complex undertaking, even for organizations that have previous experience as service providers. The good news is you don’t have to go this alone. In this lesson, we’ll review the different types of partners that can assist you in your broadband journey, from outside plant designers and network engineers to technology/subscriber experience partners and marketing consultants. We’ll also share best practices for identifying and engaging with the right partners for your project.

Many electric cooperatives and municipalities are already stepping up to fill the broadband gap—delivering high-speed internet and value-added services to unserved and underserved markets across the country. Shining examples include, NextLight, Lit Communities, Ciello, and Sterling LAMB, among others. Take the next step in building a broadband service that will provide the essential connectivity and services your communities need and deserve.

To learn more about what it takes to successfully fund, design, build, operate, and market broadband services​, sign up for Broadband Academy.