St Paul moves a step ahead with plans for BTOP funding

Yesterday, the St Paul City Council consented to Resolution – 10-242 – Authorizing the Office of Technology and Communications to submit an ARRA NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant request. (GS 3099816-Ward 7).

So what does that mean? According to the Pioneer Press, the plan (for St Paul and Ramsey County) will “link the governments in a truly high-speed Internet network and, proponents say, lay a base infrastructure that eventually could lead to the same top-quality service to businesses and residents, as well as needed support for growing 4G wireless networks.”

I don’t want to say the first step – as I know many hours of work has gone into getting the application this far – but this is a step towards requesting ARRA broadband stimulus funds and loans to build the infrastructure. It also cements a relationship with two local businesses, UniTek Global Services and Minnesota Fiber Exchange. They would build and manage the network.

According to Minnesota Fiber Exchange

Our goal is to provide carrier neutral-dark fiber-open access networks to carriers and ISPs to allow them to expand their business base in the community. Especially in an area such as St. Paul and Ramsey County where currently there is a dearth of fiber assets for lease; we believe that this will be an exciting way for providers to increase customer reach. Our goal is to provide a competitively priced dark fiber service that will allow ISPs to grow business. The new network will replace the existing network in St Paul, which is a free network provided by Comcast.

Why are they doing this?

Again according to the Pioneer Press…

Hoping to save taxpayers money in the long run and boost the region’s march into the digital age, a host of officials from throughout Ramsey County are pushing a $30 million plan to build a new network of fiber-optic communication cable.

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