By Masha Zager, Broadband Communities June, 2017
Great Works Internet (GWI) is a small but fast-growing internet service provider in Maine. Though it began in the 1990s as a dial-up provider and then leased copper infrastructure to provide DSL service – it still offers DSL and even dial-up in some areas – its current business model, and the source of its growth, is as a fiber overbuilder.
GWI’s fiber network serves thousands of commercial premises throughout Maine; at the same time, it is working with a number of small cities and towns to build municipal fiber networks through creative partnerships. For example, in South Portland, GWI committed to a citywide fiber build because the city government agreed to be the anchor tenant. In Sanford, GWI will operate and provide services on an open-access municipal network, and in Islesboro, it will be the operator of and sole service provider on a municipal network.
The secret to GWI’s success lies in building fiber in the right places – that is, where it can make a business case. To do this, it must be able to quickly and accurately predict the costs of reaching premises with fiber and the revenues from delivering services. That, in turn, takes a lot of data, as well as the capacity to analyze that data.