Bloomington lays 'digital underground'
- By Jill Rosen
- May 12, 2000
Bloomington, Ind., is trying to insure its future in the new economy by
building a citywide fiber-optic network, yet has a plan to keep the ensuing
road disruption to a minimum.
The city's Digital Underground plan, announced Thursday by Mayor John Fernandez,
is a strategy to entice technology companies to the area, said Michael Chui,
the city's chief information officer.
The three goals of the program are:
* To jump-start competition among telecommunications providers.
* To protect the city's right of way as well its attractiveness.
* To provide for the city's communications needs.
"The new economy has been driven by information and we recognize that advanced
telecommunications must be part of the infrastructure," Chui said.
The city has already begun to lay a communications conduit along its rights
of way as streets or sidewalks are repaired. When telecommunications companies
consider relocating to Bloomington, the city hopes the pre-existing lines
will give them an edge. Plus, the city hopes the cost of laying the lines
might be offset by future lease revenues from the companies.
Next, the city plans to build a conduit ring around the center of town.
Finally, the actual fiber will be installed. Before the city can construct
the ring, the City Council must approve $185,000 in funding, the city's
share of an agreement with Kiva Telecom, whose conduit route will run parallel
Bloomington also announced that it plans to build a "telecommunication hotel,"
or a facility to house servers and equipment for high-tech companies. Officials
hope the hotel will be yet another way to recruit industry.