Escambia County might seem to pivot from its current prepare to build its possess county-large fiberoptic network and instead incentivize personal sector development of large-velocity online in the north close of the county.

On Thursday, commissioners recognized a specific prepare from Magellan Advisors — a organization it compensated $650,000 for the get the job done — and scheduled to listen to a presentation of the plan at their future Committee of the Complete conference, as effectively as committing $10 million to fund broadband advancement north of 10 Mile Road.

Accepting the program indicates the county will not have any concerns with the work Magellan Advisors did for the county. On the other hand, Commissioner Steven Barry expressed skepticism that the county necessary to be the a single to possess the community as envisioned in Magellan’s approach.

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The prepare calls for making a county-owned fiberoptic network throughout the county connecting various community buildings and making wireless nodes to produce large-pace world wide web to residential prospects. The county had established aside $22 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act resources to spend for the venture.

Barry explained he had no difficulties with the work of Magellan Advisors, but apprehensive about the hazard the county would be having if it owned the real network in the floor.

“If some thing takes place (to adjust the internet marketplace), following we sort of move off and choose that economic threat, then no matter if it is really us sitting down on the dais or pretty probable a new swath of people in say 10 many years, I will not want to leave a little something in the floor that is heading to be a huge load, or that we then have to check out to fireplace sale,” Barry claimed. “Or if a thing just does not go like the best-situation situation. I always hoped for the very best-situation scenario. … (But) lots of of the paths that we’ve long gone down have not ended up in very best-scenario situations.”

Barry proposed splitting the project in two, with $10 million focused to the county north of 10 Mile Street and $12 million committed to the southern fifty percent of the county.

For the northern half of the project, relatively than the county proudly owning the fiber community, the $10 million would be applied to obtain a different $5 million grant from the state and then be utilized to incentivize a non-public organization to create the fiber community.

Barry said the plan would be relatively than wi-fi obtain to the network, the private company could run the fiber specifically to people’s houses.

“I want my constituents to lastly have obtain to actual higher-speed fiber world wide web in their houses,” Barry explained.

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David Deliman, industry vice president for the Gulf Coast area of Cox Communications, instructed the commission his business was fascinated in partnering with the county on the project.

South of 10 Mile Highway, the county would operate with the Florida Office of Transportation to co-track down the network to wire the new traffic gentle management method that will be constructed at the Escambia County Community Security Office.

Barry mentioned getting the Magellan Advisors research places the county in advance of other communities who may possibly contend for grants.

Commissioner Lumon May possibly expressed issue the concentration on rural regions could forget about the underserved city spots of his district.

Deliman told May well that in his district the problem is just not access to superior-speed network but fairly affordability. He mentioned Cox features price reduction courses and even totally free world wide web provider to qualifying minimal-earnings households, but the problem is informing folks that they qualify for these applications.

May possibly claimed that is superior to know and he desired to seem at methods the county could aid get the phrase out.

“In numerous of the neighborhoods that I serve there’s sewer, but folks won’t be able to link,” May well stated. “So if the broadband is there and people just cannot pay for to join, then there is certainly a unique conversation over assets that I need to be offering.”

Jim Small can be achieved at [email protected] and 850-208-9827.

This report at first appeared on Pensacola Information Journal: Escambia County to make investments $22 million in enhancing broadband


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