The Broadband Task Force made their recommendation for Internet in Spring Hill to the City Council in a joint work session Thursday at the Community Center, 613 S. Race St.
Since August, the Broadband Task Force has worked with CTC Technology and Energy, a consulting firm hired by the City, on a fiber feasibility study for a potential fiber-to-the-premises network (FTTP), which aims to answer two questions: Is the idea possible, and should you move forward with it?
The Broadband Task Force’s recommendation included several different pieces to address the shortfall or lack of Internet service options in the City.
- Adoption of policies — Support efforts of utility infrastructure in our right of ways and plan for future placement of conduit. The Task Force would like to see a right-of-way permitting policy and procedure, which aims to manage, clarify and regulate conditions of occupancy and construction within the City’s right-of-way, and a Dig Once policy and procedure, which encourages coordination between City and private sector when excavating in the public right-of-way.
- Engage state and federal elected officials — Educate state and federal elected officials of the growing need for fiber infrastructure and the ongoing struggle for competitively priced, high-speed internet in communities such as Spring Hill.
- Explore wireless provider options as a means to meet immediate need for Internet access.
- Provides additional service options for residents.
- Wireless is not a long-term solution for Spring Hill.
- Cost of wireless services may not be competitive with existing services.
- Prefer to not invest City tax dollars into wireless options.
- Ease of access for providers — Consider reviewing and changing regulations related to tower height requirements and building requirements and identify City-owned land and tower assets.
- Distribute Request for Information (RFI) to Internet providers nationally to generate interest in Spring Hill as potential high-speed, ubiquitous fiber to every resident and business in Spring Hill.
- Construct fiber infrastructure in coordination with contract of service provider within limited city tax levy impact of 1 to 2 mils for cost of project within one to five years.
- Middle Mile – Construct a middle mile fiber infrastructure (also referred to as a ring), essentially providing a reduced cost of initial infrastructure for service provider with additional fiber strands for City operational use for facility connection.
- Dark Fiber buildout – Build dark (dormant) fiber to every built or buildable property in Spring Hill city limits. (This model is referred to as the Huntsville model in the CTC final report.)
- Give consideration to underground construction as opposed to aerial access.
- City mill levy dedication and investment/grant funding –It is recommended that the City dedicate one to two mils toward the fiber infrastructure model and actively seek investment or grant dollars to offset the remaining cost of buildout.
- Conduit master plan — Identify key areas within Spring Hill that would benefit from City placement of conduit to avoid additional cost and public inconvenience for future fiber infrastructure buildout. Lease city conduit to service providers as cost recovery effort.
- Request budgetary consideration — Consider budgeted line item for placement of conduit in coordination with the conduit master plan.
The City Council will consider moving forward with the recommendation at future Council meetings.