BDUK will explore, via one or more of the pilots, the viability of a community broadband hub at a local level – which could provide a basis for the connection of additional solutions.
A community broadband hub in one sense is essentially a point of presence, where backhaul can be bought at market rates, rather than rates that relate to the distance of the hub from a point of handover (e.g. a suitably enabled BT exchange).
The community broadband hub may take a number of physical forms. One form could be an unbundled street cabinet, one side of which has line cards with Ethernet ports installed. Another form could be the communications room in a public sector building, with Ethernet ports made available and the public sector network (or the provider of the public sector network) offering the backhaul services.
Connectivity from the hub to homes and businesses can then be extended over time in a variety of ways. For example, an operator’s cabinet can be equipped to support the splicing of fibre builds into the access network, where a community have decided to dig the fibre themselves. Interfaces could also be made available such that wireless networks or indeed community managed femtocells can be added to the network.