City of Alexandria, VA Requests Bids for Construction of Municipal Fiber Network

ALEXANDRIA, VA — On November 8, the City of Alexandria issued an invitation to bid for the construction of a City-owned fiber optic network to support broadband services among the City's public institutions. The City has worked with stakeholders and industry experts to design a network that will address connectivity needs for City government buildings, public schools, libraries, public safety communications, and the City's Smart Mobility transportation initiatives.

In addition to improving connectivity among City facilities and sites, the municipal fiber project will create potential partnership opportunities to expand consumer choice and increase available speeds for broadband services available in Alexandria. In response to consistent feedback regarding the lack of options for cable television and broadband internet services, the City has actively pursued other potential providers. With the construction of the new fiber optic network, the City is planning to seek new partners who could lease excess conduit space to provide broadband service to residents and businesses. This would allow all providers to compete fairly, and would encourage providers to offer consumer services. 

The City issued a formal solicitation in July 2015 to seek information from industry professionals on the feasibility of constructing its own fiber optic network. The new fiber infrastructure would replace the current institutional network, or "I-Net," which was the first network of its kind in Virginia. The I-Net now connects nearly 90 municipal and educational facilities and is largely leased from Comcast.

Because digging and burying conduit is a significant cost of building a fiber network, the City is taking all reasonable opportunities to lay conduit wherever current digging projects are already underway and align with the municipal fiber construction. This approach strives to avoid unnecessary impacts on neighborhoods and businesses. The contract is scheduled to be awarded in early 2020, with construction expected to begin in spring 2020 once contract negotiations are complete.

For more information about the City’s Municipal Fiber project, visit alexandriava.gov/Broadband.

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