The story of how the City of Winter Haven was able to put in place a fiber optic network is a culmination of collective effort, determined vision and leadership, and serendipity that stretched over 19 years.

Keys to Success

As part of the City of Winter Haven’s experience in building the City’s fiber optic network, the Technology Services Department identified the keys to success:

▸ Have a shared vision. The importance of a fiber optic infrastructure was not only identified in the City’s Information Technology Plan but was also part of the community vision and goals.

▸ Have a smart plan. Fiber optic conduit was installed along with key capital projects, but not all projects. The conduit was installed only when it made sense in a coordinated, methodical and purposeful fashion. Tools such as GIS maps were used to help visualize the important routes and destinations.

▸ Find a champion. To sustain the vision and plan over an extended time, a champion is needed. In Winter Haven’s case, the IT Director served in this role.

▸ Find friends to help you. Fiber optic is a foundational infrastructure for government operations, economic development, education and public safety. There are many people in the community who share the same understanding and vision. From letters of support to fiber infrastructure planning and implementation, many City employees and community members gave their time and support.