Palmdale OKs plan for faster Internet network | News

PALMDALE — It won’t happen right away, but the City will get a citywide fiber network that will offer residential and commercial gig speed Internet throughout the City and help close the digital divide.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to authorize City Manager J.J. Murphy to negotiate the terms and conditions of a license agreement with SiFi Networks Palmdale LLC for the installation of citywide fiber optics.

SiFi Networks will install 800 miles of fiber in a citywide gigabit network providing a carrier-grade infrastructure able to deliver services up to 100 GB to all neighborhoods and commercial areas in the city’s jurisdiction.

The privately held company will invest more than $160 million at no cost to the city. The city will expedite the plan check and quickly turn around all submittals through the estimated two- to three-year implementation process.

SiFi will provide the infrastructure and work with potential Internet service providers to provide adequately priced services to disadvantaged communities. Once the system is complete, SiFi will offer wholesale access of the network to multiple Internet service providers who will then compete on the network to provide residents and businesses with symmetrical gigabit Internet service as well as many other competitive services, according to a staff report.

“I want to thank the city manager for the work that’s gone into this,” Mayor Pro Tem Richard Loa said. “I know it’s a big effort. It’s a transcendent move for the city.:

Councilman Austin Bishop thanked SiFi Networks for their investment in the city.

“This truly is a project that’s going to affect all residents and businesses for the city of Palmdale,” Bishop said.

Councilman Juan Carrillo also thanked SiFi Networks.

“I think that this is an opportunity for us to decrease the digital divide,” Carrillo said, “but especially now, with this situation we’re experiencing. The digital divide is something that is concerning because not everybody is able to do their homework.”

Carrillo asked that through negotiations, city staff look for ways to make it accessible to those families that cannot afford access to the Internet.

Councilwoman Laura Bettencourt thanked SiFi Networks for bringing their proposal to the city, Murphy, and Carrillo for his dedication to students.

“Since he was elected has never let a month go by without bringing up the digital divide and the needs of our city and our students and our community,” Bettencourt said.

Murphy said he looks forward to working with SiFi President Scott Bradshaw and his company.