Springboro is moving forward with construction of a $3.5 million fiber-optic network.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep people working from their homes and inhibiting live sports and entertainment, the new high-spreed broadband network is envisioned as a road to improving local lifestyles and companies and drawing new residents and businesses.
“We are building that road,” Springboro City Manager Chris Pozzuto told the city council. “The resident gets to pick the cars and trucks they want parked in their garage.”
On Monday, the Warren County Port Authority approved up to $3.5 million in financing and a lease with the city for a “23-mile long underground conduit bank for carrying fiber optic cable throughout the City.” Springboro is to pay “lease rental payments sufficient to pay the principal of and interest” by 2025. The city can pay off the debt in five years with no penalty, Pozzuto said.
The authority would lease the finished system back to the city until the debt is repaid. The up to $3.5 million includes fees of $76,250 to be paid to the authority and to cover legal and advisory costs.
The authority board also agreed to pay Kleingers Group up to $25,000 to design the “base map” for the network.
The city would lease space in city hall and connection to the network to up to five internet providers.
“We’re not looking to provide service. All we’re trying to do is bring in competition,” Pozzuto said.
On July 2, Pozzuto unveiled his plan for Springboro City Council.
“Smart Homes require Smart Cities,” Pozzuto said in his presentation. “Both require Smart Infrastructure.”
The network would give the city and other customers better internet access enabling residents and businesses “to fully perform multiple functions online at once.”
“As more people work, study, play and create at home, the need for a proper digital roadway for the City magnifies,” Pozzuto continued.
The new cable network would have “greater bandwidth” than existing ones available in the city. It would also reduce problems with interference, according to the presentation.
For example, current copper coaxial cable handle six “pulls” of data before the signal weakens compared to 2.5 million for fiber, Pozzuto said. This translates to 25 seconds to download a two-hour high definition movie that current takes 32 to 72 minutes with current cable bandwidths.
None of three internet providers in the city provide this level of service, according to the presentation.
The fiber is to be installed through “micro-trenching,” minimizing disruption in the community during construction. Installation cost was estimated at $2.5 million.
Conduits through which providers are to run fiber would lead into neighborhoods in the city and unincorporated areas around it, including Clearcreek Twp.
To compensate city users, township customers would pay 150 percent for the service, Pozzuto explained.
The first internet provider is expected to pay $100,000 a year.
“While revenue is important, I look at this more as a community development project,” Pozzuto said.
For the project, the city is also forming a partnership with the Miami Valley Educational Computer Association, based in Yellow Springs.
The association serves 31 school districts in Clark, Clinton, Greene, Highland, Fayette, Madison, Montgomery and Ross counties. It would build the system.
The service is expected to help create good jobs, draw new companies and improve health care. The lifestyles of residents, including senior citizens and people with disabilities, are to be eased by minimizing the need for office visits.
Mayor John Agenbroad said the service could help the city develop 200 acres of commercial property.
“This is going to draw more people to live there,” Councilwoman Becky Iverson said after the presentation.
The city plans to sign contracts with the authority and Point Broadband, the first internet-service provider, in September. Construction is expected to take eight months to a year.
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