Fort Dodge City Council is moving forward with a plan for a long-awaited municipal telecommunications utility project, adopting several resolutions Monday night that will allow the city to enter into a future loan agreement of up to $40 million for a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project.
“We need to get this up and running as fast as possible,” Councilman Dave Flattery said at the meeting.
The city currently depends largely on Mediacom and Frontier for broadband Internet access, both of which are among the lowest rated service providers by the American Consumer Satisfaction Survey.
Along with the future loan agreement, the council passed a resolution setting a timeline for bids on its Request for Quotes for the fiber network procurement materials. Proposals are due August 13th.
The council agreed to continue working with HR Green - an engineering firm that helps both private and public entities with a variety of engineering projects, including broadband, across the country - on the design and construction plans for the network.
The city will pay HRGreen $1.7 million spread over three phases of the project for its services, with hopes to start construction on the fiber-to-the-home project by the summer of 2022.
The meeting also included the proposed rates for potential services, starting at 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) symmetrical for $75/month and 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) symmetrical for $95/month for residential services. Businesses that sign up for symmetrical service from one of three tiers: 100 Mbps for $100/month, 250 Mbps for $250/month, and 1 Gbps for $500/month.
In 2019, a broadband utility was a top-rated need in the city’s strategic plan, and residents voted that November to grant the city the authority to start building a municipal telecommunications network. A feasibility study was conducted in November 2020, but there hasn’t been much news out of Fort Dodge since.
But with the money and timeline sorted out, the city is pushing forward on bringing fast, reliable Internet to residents' fingertips within the coming years.