British company seeks to place fiber optic cable in Quincy sewer lines for pilot program

By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Quincy could become one of the first communities in the country to have a fiber optic network installed throughout the whole city.

The city’s Department of Central Services recommended approval of a pilot program to allow United Kingdom-based i3 America to install 1,300 feet of fiber optic cable in municipal sewer lines along South 46th Street. The proposal now heads to the City Council.

The company would then determine to see what affect it would have on the sewer systems.

Brian Foley, vice president of sales for i3 America, said the cable would be laid on the bottom of sewers and anchored down with mats. This process has been used in the UK.

“It’s always been the focus to use sewer systems, because it’s a ready-made conduit,” he said.

The company will bring in a group of workers from the United Kingdom to install fiber optic cable.

“After the four-day deployment, we’re going to let it sit for 30 days of evaluation to insure — to back up the statements that I’ve made — the fiber and the process and the things that we do to install the fibers is not going to impede any of the flow, it’s not going to damage the sewers,” Foley said. “It’s not going to anything.”

The pilot project will cost i3 about $50,000.

i3 America first made initial contact with the city through Aldermen Paul Havermale, R-3, and Kyle Moore, R-3.

“We were originally contacted by Brian Foley off of our 3rd Ward website,” Moore said. “Brian Foley contacted Alderman Havermale and I after seeing our initiative for Google fiber.”

Foley told the committee that he was impressed in the community in its pursuit of Google fiber.

“There’s a very high level of public interest and active support for that,” Foley said.

Google is planning to build and test ultra-high speed broadband networks in several U.S. communities. The systems would be capable of moving information at speeds up to 1 gigabyte per second. Google plans to announce their target community or communities by the end of the year.

Foley said the lines installed by i3 would be offer a standard service of up to 100 megabits per second, 10 times faster than a typical cable connection. It could be boosted up to 1 gigabit per second.

“This is what Google what was talking about, but actually doing it,” he said.

If i3 decides to move forward in Quincy, agreements would have to be reached with utilities, Quincy and i3.

“I think if everything goes well and this is something we want to do, I think it will be an easy process,” he said. “Everybody knows that this is bringing next generation technology to Quincy at little or no cost to the taxpayer.”

The company has recently completed installation of a citywide fiber optic network in Dundee, Scotland for 68,000 homes and businesses.

Foley said the project created about 200 construction jobs. If the group decided install a citywide network, workers would be domestic.

He didn’t have any estimates on how much it would cost to create the fiber optic network in Quincy.

Fiber optic would be delivered to homes and buildings at no cost, and service providers would offer service such as cable or Internet through the network.

“It’s all up to the service provider,” said Richard Tauberman, spokesman for i3 America. “We just provide the fiber. It’s up for the U.S. competitive landscape to figure out how much it will cost.”

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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