Frisco approves another ‘dig once’ fiber conduit installation
FRISCO — Frisco officials continue to make progress in expanding the fiber optic infrastructure throughout town and are hoping that their deliberate approach in picking projects now will pay off in a big way down the line.
The Frisco Town Council on Tuesday approved a $60,000 expenditure to install new fiber optic conduit on Main Street, a project meant to set the stage for a high-speed broadband communications system that can be put in place throughout the town over time.
While not cheap, officials say getting the conduit positioned now could represent a significant cost savings. Frisco Public Works Director Jeff Goble said Comcast was set to start its own fiber optic line along West Main Street sometime this fall — about 2,000 feet from Frisco Town Hall to the Summit Daily News building — and town officials will use the opening to put their own conduit in place at the same time. The actual fiber optic lines will be added later.
“When they pulled their right-of-way permit, staff determined this would be a good way to get some conduit in for the town of Frisco,” Goble said during a presentation to the council. “… Hopefully, we’ll get this project moving forward this fall.”
With most residents getting their internet through cable or DSL, the widespread installation of fiber optic networks in town has emerged as a priority to help meet the ever-growing data needs of local businesses and residents as well as to help facilitate the eventual arrival of 5G small cell technology in the area.
Taking advantage of other unrelated construction projects in town is vital to keeping costs down. In February, the town passed its “dig once” ordinance, which provides the town opportunities to install fiber infrastructure whenever excavation is being done for town, state or private projects.
In regard to the upcoming Main Street installation, officials estimated the cost to install conduit without the “dig once” policy likely would be between $120,000 to $150,000.
“Definitely, we’ve got to be forward thinking with what we do with our infrastructure,” council member Andy Held said. “$60,000 now compared to doing it later will end up being a lot less.”
The town already has used the new policy once, taking advantage of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Gap Project by laying conduit under Colorado Highway 9 near Water Dance Drive and the Peninsula Recreation Area. Goble said other opportunities are popping up, as well, including a conduit installation project from AT&T and Verizon set for spring that would take place on Granite Street between Madison and Seventh avenues.
With the town committed to using open opportunities to lay the foundation for better internet infrastructure in the future, the council also approved the creation of a new line item in the town’s capital improvements fund that would help finance the projects as they pop up.
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