Maple Ridge wants ideas on fibre optic

Seeking expressions of interest on light-speed communications

The City of Maple Ridge is asking for any partners interested in fibre optic. (THE NEWS/files) The City of Maple Ridge is asking for any partners interested in fibre optic. (THE NEWS/files)

The City of Maple Ridge wants to know if anyone wants to partner with it as it tries to spread out the tentacles of the fibre optic network throughout the city.

Maple Ridge wants to know if any private or non-profit entity, with the expertise, can help the city maximize the use of the latest in communications hardware, to help it determine if there’s enough interest to ask for competitive bids.

Maple Ridge so far has 22 kilometres of buried piping that can contain fibre optic cable and already has two kilometres of fibre optic that connects city buildings within the downtown.

Linking buildings with fibre optic, spares the city from incurring additional Internet or server charges.

The city achieved its 22 kilometres by installing the piping over the past several years any time it was suitable and a road was being dug up.

According to the city’s request issued in November 2018, “high-speed infrastructure is foundational for stimulating and supporting economic development and improving the life of City of Maple Ridge residents.”

The overall objective is to establish high-speed services for municipal and industrial sites and improve cost effectiveness for internet services to the entire community.

To increase its chances of finding a partner, the city has also avoided any long-term contracts for its telecom and its fibre optic network.

The city also owns several cellphone towers, some of which are leased out.

It wants to do is get an idea of what are the possibilities and if it’s worth going to a competitive bid process. It’s not prescribing any responses, it just wants to hear back in an attempt to get most innovative ideas.

“We don’t know what will come back,” said Christina Crabtree, chief information officer for the city.

Coquitlam requires communications companies to install fibre optic pipes for the municipality whenever installing its own.

An initial partnership in 2008 between the city and a private company dissolved and two previous requests for proposals had companies make pitches in which the city would take the risk if revenues dropped.

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