Phoenix, a conduit for telecom
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Feb 08, 2001
The Phoenix City Council has given the thumbs up for a city-led effort to
create a 32-mile fiber-optic loop to expand service for telecommunications
providers in the area and enhance economic development.
Two city departments — Community and Economic Development as well as Engineering
and Architectural Services — will develop legal agreements with four telecom
providers that have agreed to help fund the $13.6 million project along
the Interstate 17 corridor in north central Phoenix.
The providers — Adelphia Communications, AmeriCom, McLeodUSA Inc., and XO
Communications Inc. — intend to purchase a total of 11 conduits out of the
planned 16-conduit trench, said Patrick Grady, director of the Community
and Economic Development Department.
The companies would pay 50 percent of the costs prior to the start of construction
and 50 percent after completion. Grady said the city would issue a request
for proposals and submit final bids to the city council by late August or
early September. He said the city also would explore the feasibility of
building a 24-conduit trench. The project is estimated to take 12 to 18
months to complete from groundbreaking.
Some providers were concerned that the city would lease any lines, thereby
entering the telecom business. But Grady said the city would sell the remaining
unused conduits to telecom companies.
"We're providing a focal point to enable telecom providers to come together,
reduce their costs and thereby enhance both capacity and service," he said.
"We're simply — pardon the pun — the conduit, the facilitator for making
Although Grady said Phoenix ranks among the top 20 U.S. regions in terms
of the number of tech firms, his department is being expanded to focus on
retaining and attracting technology firms.
In addition to handling the fiber-optic project, the expanded department
would step up efforts to improve employment opportunities, encourage workforce
development in the high-tech industry and provide technical assistance to
the technology business cluster.