Bids received on project for full-county broadband
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.