County to facilitate broadband for businesses

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Council > Staff directed to develop implementation plan

By Arin McKenna

The Los Alamos County Council continued its discussion on the future of community broadband at Tuesday’s work session, urging staff to develop a plan for utilizing current capabilities to provide service to interested businesses.
 “I certainly want, as quickly as possible, to get existing businesses that want and need this service hooked up,” Councilor Pete Sheehey said. “The nation made an investment in REDI Net. Let’s use it as quickly as possible. I, for one, am certainly willing to spend some county money.”
Funding even this modest goals (as opposed to the original plan to bring a Community Broadband Network to every residence in the county) will be a challenge.
Although REDI Net, a jointly owned broadband infrastructure network for Northern New Mexico, has additional bandwidth available, nodes and fiber must be installed in order to connect businesses. Nodes run $20,000 to $40,000 each. Fiber costs vary, with buried conduits costing roughly $10,000 per mile, less for pole attachment.
Staff suggested using economic development funds, or encouraging private enterprises to build fiber connections from the REDI Net to nodes for businesses.
The latter proposal concerned Vice Chair Kristin Henderson, since those companies would then own the infrastructure they built.

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