City officials have shared some exciting news about a new project that already has many residents talking. During a City Council Meeting in late January, the City Council approved the Development Agreement for a City-Wide Fiber Optic Network (Network) Installation at no cost to the City. In reality, there are two exciting announcements in that agreement, the City’s desire to have a City-Wide Fiber Optic Network delivering High Speed Internet and the project is at NO COST to the City.

SiFi Networks and the City have entered into an agreement to have SiFi build out the Network. SiFi Networks’ mission is to build privately-owned fiber optic systems which are open access, low cost to the consumer and available to every resident and business within a City.

The network will be privately funded, built and operated by SiFi Networks and will allow for open access to enable numerous internet service providers (ISP) to deliver gigabit internet services to residents and businesses throughout the City.

“This is exciting news for our residents and businesses,” said City Manager Steve Carmona. “The pandemic showed how much reliance there was on internet access and also showed a huge digital divide between those who had access and those who didn’t. This project will ensure that divide is conquered in the next few years.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, many residents have expressed their concerns over the internet service that is currently provided by ISP’s in the City. There is a lack of infrastructure, only that of service providers that have built their own networks to provide internet service. Many residents didn’t have access to that service, and during the pandemic, the lack of service available to residents was further exposed. The heavy reliance on the internet also put a digital strain on the existing networks provided by local service providers, especially as local schools went to distance learning and many employers relied on virtual meetings to keep their businesses running. This high-speed infrastructure will provide residents with an opportunity to seek ISPs who will be able to lease the fiber from SiFi.

Having a high-speed internet infrastructure that is privately managed and funded allows the City to grow digitally. Residents will no longer be bound by territorial networks. A City-Wide Fiber Optic Network will open the digital doors for high-speed internet service to be made available at affordable pricing.

This network will also be a key factor in attracting new businesses to the City that provides in-person and online services. Businesses already established in the City can take advantage of the service by expanding their e-commerce offerings while still operating a brick and mortar store locally.

Aside from business advantages, City operations will benefit from the high -speed network with the upcoming implementation of the City’s “Virtual City Hall,” and the ability to tie in to City facilities, utilities, street lights, and traffic signals.

“In the end, it’s a win-win for everyone involved,” said Carmona. “The high-speed network will encourage ISP’s to offer competitive pricing for our residents and businesses while our residents and businesses will enjoy the benefits of a high-speed network.”

Over the next six to 12 months, SiFi and the City will be designing the network for City-wide installation. Once the design is completed, construction is estimated to take between two and four years. When completed, approximately 260 Miles of fiber optic cable will have been installed throughout the City.

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