Sunday, December 22, 2013

Possible alternative to capitalize U.S. FTTP build out emerges in Utah

Building infrastructure of any kind is a costly undertaking, including fiber optic to the premise (FTTP) telecommunications networks. Those high capital costs have crimped FTTP build out in the United States, challenging existing telephone and cable companies as well as newcomers like Google Fiber.

In Utah, a new strategy is emerging involving a global firm that with patient capital that specializes in big dollar infrastructure projects. The Salt Lake City Tribune reports Macquarie Capital Group, an Australian firm that advises and invests in public projects around the world, will launch an engineering and feasibility study to operate Utah's 11-city UTOPIA FTTP network in a public-private partnership: 

Macquarie’s investors — including pension funds, large insurance firms and private endowments — were seeking to develop stable, long-term investment opportunities and were drawn to technology-based projects, Hann said. 

If the feasibility study proves fruitful and Macquarie agrees to take over the network, it likely will entail a deal in which the firm would assume management of the network for 30 years and invest in building out and upgrading the rest of the lines to neighborhood homes, Hann said. 

The network would remain an open-access network and Macquarie would partner with third-party Internet service providers, he said.

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