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BCCAN (Brown County Community Area Network)

The Brown County Community Area Network (BCCAN - pronounced BEACON) was established in 2007 by the Brown County Board of Supervisors in conjunction with the County Executive. This fiber infrastructure was created to improve internet and broadband connectivity access. It provides County, municipal, and educational institutions as well as telecommunication agencies with fiber network access throughout the County. BCCAN is currently partially self-funded with lease fees covering portions of the construction and operating costs.

BCCAN has agreements with the following municipalities:

• City of Green Bay
• City of De Pere
• Village of Allouez
• Village of Ashwaubenon
• Village of Howard
• Village of Suamico


BCCAN has partnerships with the following educational institutions:

• Green Bay Area Public School District
• Howard Suamico School District
• Ashwaubenon School District
• UW Green Bay
• Saint Norbert College
• NWTC
• MERIT (Michigan)

BCCAN has agreements with the following organizations and agencies:

• Aging and Disability Resource Center
• Brown County District Attorney
• Brown County Public Library and branches
• Brown County Sheriff
• Green Bay-Austin Straubel International Airport
• Nsight
• NEW Zoo
• NEWEye Media
• Neville Public Museum
• Port & Resource Recovery
• Public Safety - 911 Emergency
• T2 Accelerator (Business Incubator)
• UW Extension


BCCAN consists of approximately 65 miles of underground fiber infrastructure as of March 2017. Fiber is a long term investment; underground fiber and its conduit have a rough life of at least 20 years, while some experts suggest fiber life could be as long as 50 years and conduit could exceed 100 years.

Fiber network has improved access to County buildings, reduced overall operational costs and provides much needed high speed access to government and educational institutions. This high speed access allows nearly all County buildings, including County public libraries, to have free WiFi Internet access for the public in those facilities.

Any government entity, education institution, or telecommunications utility can lease fiber from Brown County. They can also install fiber through the same private sector agents the County uses. There is fiber in Brown County from AT&T, nSight and Spectrum to name a few. Additionally, telecommunications vendors can lease fiber from Brown County.

Benefits Now and In the Future

All authorized entities have an equal opportunity to use BCCAN fiber. The primary focus of the fiber infrastructure are services such as 911 Emergency, WAN and backup. However, County provided fiber may help entice development from providers such as nSight, AT&T and Spectrum. Today, fiber is provided only to select locations where there is clear value directly to County operations. Long term, the County may choose to expand services. With the growth nationally of community based fiber networks, fiber may become a “highway and road” service. Some communities have already moved to full fiber infrastructure such as Chattooga’s fiber to the home project. There is national discussion regarding this through groups such as the FTTH Council http://www.ftthcouncil.org/d/do/11.

There are many communities that require conduit and fiber be laid under every new road, and to be connected to every new building - much like sewer, gas, electricity and water. This is referred to as “dig once” ordinances and it is the most cost effective method of implementing fiber connection. As the County continues to work locally and with the state, these types of regulations, ordinances and laws will be discussed and reviewed. In general Brown County continues to assess the value of public, private and public/private partnerships to improve the availability of high speed broadband access for all County constituents.

To request more information about BCCAN, please click here.

Click here for the Brown County Board of Supervisors resolution (May, 2013) for this fiber expansion project.



Fiber Details
The cost of fiber varies from $70,000 to $100,000 per mile. The cost is also affected by the number of strands we install. Brown County installs fiber bundles with 96 to 432 strands in the bundle. These fibers are also referred to as Dark Fiber. “Dark Fiber” requires some equipment to be connected to it to become active (network switches and/or optics gear).

Fiber is similar to roads or a racetrack going from one spot to another spot. A straight clean road can be used by numerous vehicles for lots of different purposes. The speed of the car (or equipment) controls the “speed of the road” on a racetrack. The road can limit the vehicle, but in general the vehicles ON the road determine the capacity. Another analogy is pipes pumping water one pumping from a location another to the location. The fiber is the pipe, but you need pumps (equipment) to get the water (or data) to flow through that fiber. Many technicians refer to fiber links as “pipes”.


The same applies to fiber networks. You can use the same fiber to set up any of these networks:
• 100mb
• 1000mb or 1gb
• 10gb all the way to 400gb

More importantly, fiber can be used with future technology. Single mode fiber will likely support terabit throughput capacities by changing the equipment on either end.

The BCCAN fiber “roads” or “pipes” are generally dedicated from one location to another. Two strands make a “road” with traffic going back and forth in opposite directions on each strand.

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