Havre de Grace Eyes Partnership With ThinkBig Networks To Install Fiber-Optic Broadband Infrastructure
HAVRE DE GRACE - The City of Havre de Grace is considering a partnership with ThinkBig Networks LLC to install a state-of-the-art fiber-optic broadband network within public and private rights-of-way in the city.
Under the proposed agreement, ThinkBig will be responsible for engineering, installing, and maintaining the fiber optic network. In return, the city will gain the right to lease "dark fiber" strands - fiber-optic cables that are not yet activated - for public projects such as public Wi-Fi hotspots and enhanced communication systems for public services. Construction would begin west of Route 40 and will eventually extend to cover areas to the east.
According to ThinkBig, global internet traffic continues to skyrocket, increasing by over 46% yearly. Fiber-optic networks, which can carry signals up to 35 miles without degradation, not only improve the bandwidth required for burgeoning data demands but also add significant value to properties in the area. According to a survey by RVA LLC, buyers are willing to pay a 3% premium for a fiber-connected home, and renters are willing to pay an 8% premium.
ThinkBig has also committed to meeting specific technical and customer service standards, including competitive pricing and neutrality concerning user types and applications.
The agreement would see free installations offered for dwelling units within 300 feet of the distribution line, while those beyond this limit will incur additional fees. Fees for leasing the dark fiber will be specified in a Lease Order Form, and the city plans to charge end-users to offset costs related to the new service.
This deal could be a game-changer for Havre de Grace, enabling thousands to work from home. It could also make Havre de Grace a more attractive place to live and work, as fiber connectivity is projected to add between $5,000 and $6,000 to the value of a $300,000 home in the United States.
The Havre de Grace City Council is scheduled to vote on the agreement at its meeting on Tuesday, September 6.
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