Screaming-fast Internet sought across Park City within five years
Ryan Summerlin April 30, 2014
City Hall wants a fiber optic network built within five years offering super-fast Internet service to all residential addresses and businesses, something that leaders see as important to Park City’s economic growth.
It is an aggressive ambition as leaders attempt to diversify the Park City economy from one that heavily relies on the resort industry and related sectors to one that features a broader range of businesses.
City Hall recently published a document known as a request for proposals seeking firms that could install a fiber optic network. The proposals are due May 16. The municipal government wants a firm to design, deploy, operate and maintain a network.
Officials had not received a submittal by Tuesday morning. Four companies had contacted City Hall about the request by then, according to Matt Dias, the assistant city manager. He did not disclose the names of the companies.
According to the document, City Hall wants the network to cover the entire community, with the apparent exception of the ski terrain at the mountain resorts. Officials are seeking Internet speeds of at least one gigabit per second guaranteed, a speed much faster than a typical Internet connection.
In a Tuesday statement to The Park Record, City Hall described the speed sought as being: " . . . one giga bit per second, which is significantly faster than your typical connection. For example, if a vehicle traveling at 60MPH is the average Park City internet connection of 25Mbs, then a 1Gbs connection would be like traveling 2,400 MPH in your vehicle imagine the equivalent time savings making daily errands to the store or work."
City Hall will grant a firm access to its own fiber optic infrastructure, such as conduit, to assist in the installation.
Dias said the responses to the request will provide officials with a cost estimate as well as information about the services available, the logistics and the disruptions construction might cause.
"We don’t know if we’re talking about $10 million or above and beyond," Dias said.
The document says City Hall wants a firm to "demonstrate a clear upgrade path" for the network to 2025 or longer.
Dias said Park City could enjoy significant economic benefits with the installation of a fiber optic network. He said Park City would be one of the first resort communities with a citywide network of fiber optics. Other places have used similar networks to incubate technology firms, he said. City Hall has its own fiber optic network linking some municipal facilities and there are businesses in the city have their own networks, he said.
He acknowledged that City Hall lacks critical details as it awaits submittals. Dias said he is unsure of the initial cost and how a network would be funded.
The document outlines a timeline calling for the completion of the City Hall evaluation of the proposals by May 30 and interviews with the finalists by June 6. The proposals will be evaluated on points such as the investment planned upfront by a firm, experience, references and the strength of a firm’s finances.
Park City for years has had an interest in boosting its online infrastructure. City Hall four years ago submitted the community as a candidate for Google’s fiber optic network. The Internet giant chose another city. Park City leaders in the spring of 2013 discussed what was labeled a broadband roadmap as they considered the possibility of upgrades.