Bids re­ceived on project for full-county broad­band

Record Observer - - News - By CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Queen Anne’s County govern­ment has re­ceived bids to bring high speed in­ter­net to all res­i­dents of the county and will take the mat­ter to the county com­mis­sion­ers to con­sider.

On Fri­day, Oct. 7, the county re­ceived five re­sponses from com­pa­nies af­ter the county com­mis­sion­ers put out a re­quest for pro­pos­als in July to bring broad­band high speed in­ter­net to all the house­holds in the county. Cur­rently At­lantic Broad­band only serves some county res­i­dents.

Of the five re­sponses, only two com­pa­nies pro­vided num­bers to pro­vide the ser­vice, rang­ing in cost from $11 mil­lion to $15 mil­lion which the county govern­ment would pay, said Gregg Todd, county ad­min­is­tra­tor. The range in­cluded a host of ser­vices, he said.

The other three re­sponses in­cluded a wire­less ser­vice pro­posal, an­other didn’t pro­vide a cost, and the re­main­ing one only wanted to do a needs sur­vey of the in­ter­net.

The five bid­ders were the com­pa­nies Fu­jitsu, Thayer Power and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Wide Open Net­works, Wi-Fiber, and FTS.

A task force ded­i­cated to ex­plore the idea of broad­band in­ter­net through­out the county is re­view­ing the bids and will take them to the county com­mis­sion­ers for con­sid­er­a­tion.

“We gonna take it back to the com­mis­sion­ers to get guid­ance,” Todd said. In April, the county com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved form­ing the task force, made up of county em­ploy­ees and pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als. The mis­sion of the group is to make a rec­om­men­da­tion to the com­mis­sion­ers on how to pro­ceed in the cre­ation of an all en­com­pass­ing, sus­tain­able broad­band net­work or per­ma­nent long-term so­lu­tion to pro­vide broad­band to county res­i­dents.

Cur­rently, the county doesn’t have money al­lo­cated in its cap­i­tal im­prove­ment bud­get to pay for the broad­band ser­vice com­ing to all of Queen Anne’s County, Todd said. He thinks the fiber op­tic in­fra­struc­ture would be a com­bi­na­tion of un­der­ground wires and some on poles, de­pend­ing on the lo­ca­tion in the county.

In the past, the prob­lem with bring­ing high speed in­ter­net to all the county res­i­dents has been a com­pany’s high cost of installation of the in­fra­struc­ture, and, like any busi­ness, a com­pany has to off­set its cost through ad­di­tional rev­enue, Todd said.

At­lantic Broad­band has den­sity re­stric­tions where it will only pro­vide ser­vice if enough peo­ple are will­ing to hook up to it, he said.

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