Bruce Patterson serves as the Technology Director for the City of Ammon. Ammon is a small residential community with a population of just over 14,000 in the southeast corner of Idaho. Bruce started with the City in 2004 becoming responsible for all of the City’s IT and technical systems in 2006. Then, under his direction, the City began pursuit of a municipally owned fiber system in late 2008 with resolutions and ordinances following in short order, and actual construction starting in 2010. Today the City owns and operates some 30 plus miles of backbone fiber which supports City business and utility operations as well as the local schools, public safety, wireless providers and numerous local businesses. One item worth noting is that the City of Ammon does not operate a power utility and the fiber optic department is debit free and cash flow positive.
Some of the City’s successes during Bruce’s tenure include being a proud US Ignite community member, a founding member of Next Century Cities, a sub-awardee of two separate National Science Foundation grants, being awarded first place in the National Institute of Justice’s Ultra High Speed Applications Challenge for its School Emergency Screencast System in 2015 and being awarded the 2016 Community Broadband Project of the Year by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA).
In 2016 the City began connecting residents using what has become known as the ‘Ammon model’ which makes use of an opt-in local improvement district for the capital improvement and operates as a true utility for the infrastructure service. The first fiber improvement district currently has a 70% opt-in rate. The model uses Software Defined Networking to separate the services from the infrastructure all the way to the home where the subscriber can self-provision any their own services. All costs are separated for the property owner. Infrastructure costs come through a property assessment while maintenance costs are covered by a small monthly utility fee. Subscribers deal directly with the providers of their choice, making those agreements and payments separately. The community is already benefiting from this telecommunications utility ecosystem.