Cheney Free Press -

By JOHN McCALLUM
Managing Editor 

Council to consider fiber contract

Swap for services agreement could bring higher-speed internet capabilities to Cheney

 

Last updated 11/26/2019 at 2:12pm



CHENEY – Hoping the agreement leads to better internet service in the city, the City Council appears ready to approve an agreement with telecommunications provider Ptera to lease the company strands of dark fiber optic cable owned by the Cheney Light Department.

The potential contract was brought to the council for approval at its Nov. 12 meeting, but after discussion, the council asked City Administrator Mark Schuller and staff to go back to Ptera to “tweak” some of the language and return it for consideration at the Nov. 26 meeting. The council asked for some adjustments in the lease renewal terms, and possible modifications to language regarding sales and partnering options

“Outside of water, internet speed is the biggest complaint we hear about,” Schuller said. As an example, residents at Eagle Point have told city staff that they are unable to send emails at certain times of the day due to lack of internet speed.

The contract is essentially an exchange of services. Under it, Cheney allows Ptera access to four strands of fiber that run from a server location in City Hall to a vault at the intersection of South Spotted Road and West Westbow Boulevard and eventually to the US Bank building in downtown Spokane. Access to two additional strands from City Hall to the vault will also be reserved for future development that would allow Cheney and Ptera to expand service into Airway Heights.

These 12 strands and the vault are leased from Zayo, a communications infrastructure company – including fiber and bandwidth connectivity colocation and cloud infrastructure – headquartered in Boulder, Colo. and London, England. Ptera would lease the four Zayo strands for $3,000 a month plus 4 percent per year of the five-year contract.

Ptera would also gain access to 24 of the 96 total strands of dedicated Cheney fiber for servicing businesses and residents. The city is currently using only 24 strands for its own connections. The city would also allow Ptera access to a number of high spots and negotiated use of additional controlled fiber not covered under this agreement.

In exchange, Ptera will provided several connections for the city, beginning with fixed wireless backup connection at 500/500 megabites per second (Mbps) to City Hall, valued at $1,250 a month. The existing line, which is located at Eastern Washington University’s Steam Plant, will be connected in a “redundant loop.”

The connection via the Zayo vault from Spokane will be primary fiber to City Hall, valued at $1.800 a month. Several hotspots will be set up, along with an existing fiber system build-out and mapping and private network connections to the city’s eight water wells, valued at $4,000 and $970 a month respectively. Additional city internet connects to parks for irrigation control are also included.

“We see this as a huge advantage to Cheney,” Schuller told the council.

Ptera is a residential and commercial internet service provider based in Liberty Lake.

In other business, the council approved several resolutions, beginning with one awarding a $10,115 appropriation from the city’s lodging tax fund to Holiday Hoopla for its second-annual December event. Council also approved a request from staff to apply for a Washington State Public Works Board Broadband Feasibility Study Grant program for up to $50,000 in funding to address “the need for better internet access and speed in the Cheney community.”

Council also approved an additional $1,942.50 for 30 additional hours of work on the city’s network server upgrade project, bringing the entire project with Intrinium Professional Services to $19,885.73; and renewed the city contract with consultant Debra Munguia. Munguia represents city interests with regards to “legislative, regulatory and administrative matters.”

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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