While the City Council has yet to authorize staff to proceed with efforts to construct a municipally owned fiber optic network in Lincoln Park, it has already begun to move money around in anticipation of the proposed pilot project.
Last week, councilors unanimously voted in favor of a resolution to transfer $936,397 from decertified tax-increment financing districts into a newly established “Broadband Enterprise Fund.”
It’s a step but not a commitment…
He went on to say: “This action does not commit the council or the city to moving the pilot forward. It does not commit the council or the city to approve that pilot. But we can’t bring you a funding package if we don’t have a place to put the funding.”
Yet another $1 million in federal pandemic-relief funding from the America Rescue Plan Act had already been funneled into the broadband fund, as the result of a Dec. 5 council resolution.
If approved, a proposed $5.5 million pilot project in Lincoln Park could lead to the installation of a city-owned high-speed fiber optic network that would provide access to multiple internet service providers. The open-access system is intended to foster competition, delivering faster, more reliable service at a more affordable cost to consumers.
The city continues to pursue state and federal assistance, as it prepares for a possible foray into the internet business.