Building a fiber network in an underserved community
One of the best things about my job is seeing a community grow and thrive because we’ve helped give them an essential service: reliable, affordable broadband. The process isn’t fast or easy, but when a community bands together, they can make a huge difference. And with Fujitsu’s resources and expertise in planning and building broadband networks, I get to help communities find success.
In Fort Pierce, Florida, Lincoln Park is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the community and has a rich cultural history. However, the neighborhood was suffering from a lack of funding in critical infrastructure, which meant no reliable internet service for the residents and businesses.
Coming together to solve the problem
Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) created the FPUAnet division to activate the dark fiber network, which had been laid in 1994 to provide broadband services to city buildings and certain businesses. However, in 2018, an initiative began to make Fort Pierce into a smart city and to provide fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) to residents. FPUA has been serving the community with essential services (electricity, water, gas, and more) since 1972, so it made sense to offer reliable internet up to 1 Gbps at affordable rates since communication has become so important to our modern lives.
Bridging the digital divide
While FPUAnet was looking for partners in their broadband network expansion, the City of Fort Pierce and St. Lucie County were natural additions. Another partner, the Allegany Franciscan Ministries, is a non-profit that has been helping the area since 1998. Allegany Franciscan Ministries identified the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Fort Pierce, which already had a strong community involvement to revitalize their homes and businesses, as an area that could benefit the most from a fiber network. When FPUA and Fujitsu performed a preliminary assessment in Fort Pierce, they found Lincoln Park had the lowest broadband adoption rate in the county. This information helped convince key stakeholders of the importance and benefits of improving the broadband infrastructure, so they would be able to provide free public Wi-Fi one day in areas like Lincoln Park, which would mean better access to education, job services, healthcare, and more.
What does a broadband deployment plan include?
Fujitsu worked with Fort Pierce to provide a broadband deployment plan, which included market analysis, financial and business modeling, engineering design, deployment, and overall project management. Public Wi-Fi service was launched in parts of Lincoln Park in 2022, and the project will be expanded in phases. This will include the future deployment of fiber-based services within the project area.
Build up your community with a broadband network
Municipal broadband not only gives more people access to high-speed internet, but it also makes sure it’s affordable for everyone in the community. Fiber-to-the-premise can provide long-term affordability and lasting technology. If you’re a utility or municipality who’s interested in creating a broadband business that benefits your community, you can learn more here. Fujitsu is a broadband partner with the experience and resources that can make your project more efficient while getting the most out of your budget. We want to hear about your community’s needs and help you find a way to build a fiber network everyone can enjoy. You can also listen to the full podcast on how the Fort Pierce community came together to revitalize their neighborhoods and businesses with a municipal broadband network.