City of Lincoln Announces Downtown Fiber Project

  • Public-Private Partnerships
LINCOLN, NE - The city of Lincoln, Neb., will place fiber conduits in downtown Lincoln to encourage economic development there, Mayor Chris Beutler announced today. Mayor Beutler will propose to the city council to use up to $700,000 to finance the city's costs. The money will come from a fund established in 2009 to assist with infrastructure that helps drive economic development and job creation.

The city conduits, which can be installed while the city is rehabilitating downtown streets this spring, will hold fiber from Unite Private Networks and possibly from other Internet service providers. The expected cost is about $600,000, and an additional $100,000 would allow for contingencies.

The mayor expects increased competition for Internet services to create pressure for lower prices and expanded services and allow new service providers to enter the Lincoln market. The project will also 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 will provide redundancy for businesses that depend on Internet service and will help city government provide smart technology such as signal light sensors and remote safety cameras in parking garages.

"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. Today's announcement will stamp Lincoln, Neb., as a national leader in critical communications infrastructure and further our goal of being a city that can compete with anyone, anytime, anywhere. It will be a game changer."

Update February 29: The City Council unanimously approved the project.

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