Palm Coast is in a unique position as a master planned community equal distances between Jacksonville and Orlando that has only partially developed. The vision is to develop the downtown area as a dense, vibrant, mixed-use urban area. While the City had deployed substantial fiber and established an open access network it had not fully capitalized on the infrastructure. The opportunity was to more fully use the network for municipal operations and to enable innovation and provide the foundation to comprehensive, visionary development that accomoadates an aging population while drawing in young people who could literally live and work wherever they like.
With multiple large-scale developments in the works the City needed to make sure it was competitive as a location. Broadband was a critical component of that position. Traffic congestion and mobility were already an issues because the City’s population was widely distributed over a relatively large area. Challenges getting to shop and work were expected to only increase.
While Palm Coast FiberNet was saving the City over $300k per year, the City didn’t have the capabilities necessary to grow and run the network. As an open access network, revenue depended on customer providers to actually sell services. Network infrastructure ran by or through key commercial areas but had few customers. The network’s architecture did not allow it to economically scale the subscriber base. The retail providers operating over the network faced uncertainty about costs and had little motivation or expertise to sell the service. Many businesses were not even aware of FiberNet.
Magellan laid out a detailed “crawl, walk, run” approach for Palm Coast to capitalize on its existing network infrastructure and to extend the network into developing areas of the City. Businesses in core commercial areas will be more competitive with the network, attracting new investments. New developments will be conditioned with fiber infrastructure further improving attractiveness to both older and younger residents. Revenue from increased subscribership can be plowed back into the network to increase reach with minimal taxpayer funding.
The strategy enables the City to deploy next generation Smart City technologies positioning Palm Coast as an ideal place to develop next generation solutions. Magellan helped the City with a partnership framework that gives it full control over its infrastructure while allowing the City to focus on its core competencies, leaving the partner to lead network expansion and sales.
The plan for Palm Coast FiberNet 2.0 was supplemented with key policy changes that further increase cost-effectiveness and potential impact. The City is now engaged with Magellan Advisors to develop a proposal to negotiate with partners.