City’s agreement increases Internet options
The College Station City Council recently approved an annual agreement to lease spare city-owned fiber optic cable to WireStar, Inc., a local Internet service provider that will offer download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.
The agreement brings competition into the local high-speed Internet market after Suddenlink launched ultra-high-speed service in July. It also marks the first time the city has leased its unused — or “dark” — fiber optic cable under an ordinance the council approved in March.
One gigabit per second – or 1,000 megabits — allows users to download songs, TV shows, and movies in seconds and quickly stream high-definition video. The ultra-high-speed connection can also help commercial users enhance their productivity and efficiency and serve as a tool to attract new businesses.
WireStar will pay the city $21,580 in annual fees plus maintenance costs under the agreement approved by the council on Oct. 8.
“This gives our citizens and businesses more choice and offers a different type of service provided by a locally owned company,” Place-6 Councilman James Benham said. “The dark fiber is available for any company to lease, and we hope it leads to better services for our citizens. We’re not the first city to do this, but we’re definitely on the leading edge.”
WireStar’s ultra-high-speed service will initially be available only for commercial uses and large apartment complexes, but could expand to residential areas. Customers can use a survey tool at WireStar.net to enter their address and request service in their neighborhood. If enough residents sign up, that neighborhood could potentially receive service.
“After years of work and cooperation with Councilman Benham and through the progressive vision of the City of College Station, WireStar Networks is pleased to be selected to enhance the communication infrastructure for the citizens of College Station,” WireStar President Kyle Leissner said. “By tapping into the city’s fiber network, we’ll use the existing infrastructure as a catalyst to expand and reach residences and businesses more effectively to deploy our competitive internet services.”
Benham says more high-speed Internet options will have a positive impact on local economic development and enhance the community’s quality of life.
“Ultra-high-speed Internet services are vital to our residents and businesses,” Benham said. “It’s important to be able to connect with the world and do it quickly. In the past, we didn’t take bandwidth very seriously as a city, and we lost companies and jobs to cities that provided those types of services. One of the best things we can do is to make sure we have the infrastructure amenities that business owners and entrepreneurs need.”
“It’s so expensive to roll out telecommunications services and put fiber optics in the ground or on utility poles. We had an opportunity to do something about it, and we did,” Benham said.