Mayor John Hamilton announced Thursday Bloomington and Axia, a telecommunication service provider, signed a letter of intent to develop a Gigabit-class fiber optic broadband service in Bloomington.
The service will be city-wide and open-architecture, which allows community control of contractual provisions that encourages competition and open access so multiple providers can use the city-wide system, according to a Mayor’s office press release. The system will also be financially feasible.
“I have spoken frequently about the important of Gigabit-class fiber optic broadband for our city,” Hamilton said in the press release. “Since January, I have worked with local and national experts to identify, attract and secure the right partner to provide the 21st century infrastructure. I am very pleased to announce today this major step forward for economic development and quality of life in Bloomington.”
Axia has previously developed fiber optic communications infrastructure in Canada, the United States, France and Singapore. Trends in the communications industry are pushing the need for open access fiber networks. This is especially increasing demand for high-performing digital connectivity, the growing number and variety of network connected devices, growth in demand for wireless data services and growing use of video and other applications on the web.
Axia is projected to complete an engineering analysis by the end of March to plan and design the build-out of the fiber network.
If this step goes well, Axia will conduct an expression of interest campaign to determine the number of residents and businesses interested in the planned service. When 40 percent of people are interested, Axia will start construction on the network.
The network is expected to include an investment of tens of millions of dollar during a 24 to 36 month period of build out for the city, according to the press release.
Smithville, AT&T, Comcast and other service providers will have access to the network via fiber connection that will be available on equal terms to all. Axia will build the digital road to allow anyone to use it to reach a residential or business location.
Axia and the city of Bloomington’s goals align, which is why Hamilton believes they will work well together, he said in the press release.
“I believe with Axia we have found a partner committed to these same goals, willing to work with us to build and operate a future-oriented, competition-supporting system in our community,” Hamilton said in the press release.
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