Stillwater, Oklahoma, recently released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in its search for a firm to complete a feasibility study. The city’s Utilities Authority is considering establishing a community owned and operated broadband utility to add to its electric, water, wastewater, and trash and recycling collection utilities. Responses are due April 30, 2018.
Open To Suggestions
Stillwater wants the firm they hire for the study to consider a range of possible models, including dark fiber, open access, and a retail model in which the utility offers services directly to subscribers. They also want partnerships considered that might include Oklahoma State University and Central Rural Electric Cooperative.
OSU’s Stillwater Campus serves about 23,500 students and is considered the flagship of the OSU system. More than 6,000 people work at the school. Central Rural Electric Cooperative doesn’t currently offer broadband to members, but cooperatives and local governments are exploring these types of partnerships more often. In Mecklenburg, Virginia, a project involving a rural cooperative and Mecklenburg County will bring Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) to much of the county premises.
As part of the analysis, Stillwater Utilities Authority expect whomever they hire to also provide needs assessments, options for financing, capital costs estimates, and market analysis, in addition to other considerations that will help them move forward.
The Authority wants a self-sustainable gigabit network that offers fast, affordable, reliable symmetrical services to residents, businesses, and its industrial sector.
The community’s located in the north central part of the state with around 50,000 people in the city. In addition to OSU, a medical center and the headquarters of convenience store franchise OnCue are some of the top employers.
As in other university communities, Stillwater has an active arts scene with a bustling country music and theatre scene. It’s the home of the Red Dirt Film and Music Festivals and since 1920, it’s hosted “America’s Greatest Homecoming Celebration”. A few other events in the community are the Oklahoma Special Olympics, the Tumbleweed Calf Fry, and the Payne County Fair.
The city’s economy is already diverse with sectors in printing and publishing, floor covering, software, food, and research. Entities from agribusiness to aerospace operate in Stillwater.