Hoping to increase consumer choice in cable, broadband, and voice services, the City of Alexandria, VA recently announced bidding to build a broadband network.
According to ALXNow, Craig Fifer, spokesman for the City of Alexandria, said, “This is an intended benefit, but only if private providers choose to avail themselves of the opportunity. Alexandria City Council and City staff have worked consistently over the years to encourage consumer broadband choice, but plans have since been halted when deals with Google Fiber network and Verizon FiOS fell through.”
“With new Verizon FiOS deployment plans shelved around the country and Google Fiber largely dead, the investment in broadband infrastructure must fall to local governments,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in a newsletter.
As reported by AXLNow, the city’s plans involve leasing excess conduit space rather than fiber capacity so private providers can come in and run their own cables. “It’s important to clarify that the plan is to lease excess conduit capacity, not excess fiber capacity,” Fifer said. “Private providers would be able to run their own fiber without having to dig. This is an important distinction for legal reasons.”
According to documentation released by the city for bidding purposes, the fiber network will offer capabilities that leased circuits cannot and will do so at a known cost that will remain relatively constant. A secondary objective for the network is to create strategic opportunities to promote economic development and support innovative services and applications that more broadly impact the city’s businesses and residents.
The network was designed with spare capacity, strategically chosen fiber routes, and accessibility of its underlying infrastructure to enable fiber and conduit leases to commercial partners seeking to deploy new services, and to reduce barriers to reaching currently underserved businesses and residents.
“This is an issue that impacts not only residents but also our businesses and the ability of our community to attract new investment,” Mayor Justin Wilson said. “Over six years ago, I proposed that the city develop a broadband plan to bring true competition to Alexandria’s broadband market. It has taken far too long, but the city is finally moving ahead on an effort to bring new broadband capacity to our community.”
December 13, 2019