The Mayor’s Gigabit City Executive Steering Committee is drafting a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Lexington’s fiber optic network. For additional background on this issue, see my previous blog posts here and here. The Committee previously released a Request for Information (RFI) on its gigabit city initiative. An RFI differs from an RFP in that an RFI allows a public agency to learn about possible options without the obligation and expectation to award a contract within a specific timeframe. In other words, by releasing an RFI, the Committee has taken the opportunity to learn about the variables and technical challenges before initiating the awarding processing required by an RFP
On January 19th, 2015, Chief Information Officer Aldona Valicenti provided the Environmental Quality & Public Works Committee with an update on the project. You may view a video of the presentation and the packet with presentation slides by clicking here. Fiber Optic Technology is item 4 on the agenda. As Aldona noted in her presentation, a fiber optic buildout is a complex project. The city’s strategic decisions in deploying the fiber optic network will have consequences for decades, so while some enthusiasts of the project have been eager for progress, a deliberate approach is appropriate for the best outcomes.
The Gigabit City Executive Steering Committee will be drafting and releasing an RFP in the coming weeks. The Committee plans to suggest 2 options in the RFP. The first option will be a private build in which the city has a level of participation. The second option will be a public-private partnership model. The city’s interest in both models relates to a ubiquitous, or equitable, build. One outcome of a fiber optic network build is that only wealthy residents have access to high speed information delivery. The city would prefer that this fiber optic infrastructure be available more equitably, and the public investment advances that interest.