Mayor Beutler Says Downtown Fiber Project Will Promote Economic Development

February, 09 2012

Mayor Chris Beutler announced Thursday that the City of Lincoln will place a grid of communication fiber conduits in downtown Lincoln.

He will propose to the City Council that up to $700,000 from the City’s Fast Forward Fund be used to finance the City’s costs.

Mayor Beutler established the fund in 2009 to assist with infrastructure improvements that help drive economic development and job creation.

“In this century, telecommunications fiber has taken its place next to roads as key infrastructure for the promotion of economic growth and job creation,” Beutler said. “As Mayor, my goal is keep Lincoln among the most competitive economies not only in Nebraska, not only in the United States, but the entire world.

Thursday’s announcement will stamp Lincoln, Nebraska as a national leader in critical communication infrastructure and further our goal of being a city that can compete with anyone, anytime, anywhere. It will be a game changer.”

Under the proposal, the City would finance a grid of conduits to ultimately hold fiber from Unite Private Networks and possibly other Internet service providers.

The expected cost is about $600,000, and an additional $100,000 would allow for contingencies. The Fast Forward Fund currently has a balance of $6,266,875.

Mayor Beutler said the conduits can be installed while the City is rehabilitating downtown streets this spring.

The project would create a number of advantages for Lincoln

• Increased competition for Internet services will create pressure for lower prices and expanded services. New service providers will be able to enter the Lincoln market. The project will lay the foundation for possible private sector investment in “carrier hotels,” which allow greater access to multiple providers and are key infrastructure components in other communities.
• A new fiber grid provides critical redundancy for businesses that depend on Internet service.
• Additional fiber will help City government save taxpayer dollars by providing capacity for smart technology such as signal light sensors and remote safety cameras in parking garages.

The Mayor thanked Unite Private Networks and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce for their work on the project.

“In Lincoln, our fast growing technology sector is an engine for economic growth,” Beutler said. “Companies like Nelnet and Nanonation are utilizing the talent nurtured at UNL’s Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management to create new, good-paying jobs in the community. The development of Innovation Campus will only accelerate that trend.”

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