Named the Intelligent Community of the Year by the Intelligent Communities Forum in 2012, Riverside, California has continued to work toward broadband expansion, digital inclusion and take full advantage of their fiber optic infrastructure. To offer more options for commercial and institutional entities in the community, the city council approved a dark fiber leasing program to be operated and maintained by Riverside Public Utilities (RPU). Officially launched in 2018, the program makes the city’s 120-mile dark fiber network available for Internet service providers (ISPs), wireless operators, and mobile carriers to lease and provide service to industrial and commercial customers.
Becoming an Innovation Hub
Riverside’s growing reputation as a smart city has helped turn the community into a hub for start up companies, especially in the technology industry. Located just east of Los Angeles, Riverside was ranked as 19th on MSN Money’s list of the best cities in the U.S. to grow a business and several large companies, such as SolarMax, have recently located there.
While the fiber network was originally constructed for running the operational facilities of power and water, the city had the foresight to finance and construct fiber to every city facility. With the new leasing program, this original network is now an essential backbone for providing the city’s businesses and industries with the high-speed service they need to compete with surrounding communities.
Open for Business
The dark fiber network connects office buildings, industrial properties, and data centers throughout the city and includes seven buildings which are already connected to the network with more on the way. With the goal of making dark fiber connections available throughout Riverside, RPU is continually adding more locations and will construct extensions to unserved areas as requested. Customers are responsible for installation costs and the current base rate to lease the network is $125 per strand-mile per month with a one mile minimum.
Riverside’s dark fiber leasing program is just one aspect of the city’s larger plan to close the digital divide. In 2005, Riverside established SmartRiverside, a non-profit innovation and digital inclusion program established to support the broadband and technology efforts. Programs through SmartRiverside include the Digital Inclusion program which offers free refurbished PCs to families in need. With its comprehensive approach including both infrastructure expansion and more people-focused programs, Riverside is paving the way for how to best close the digital divide. The new dark fiber leasing program will further solidify Riverside as a leader in innovation.
Listen to Christopher interview Steve Reneker way back in 2012. At the time, he was the Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of SmartRiverside and they discussed the program for episode 11 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast: