Salinas City Council approves contract to build municipal fiber network

by Steve Blum • , , , ,

Salinas fiber

A contract to build the first phase of a municipal dark fiber network was approved by the Salinas City Council earlier this month. This initial leg is a mile and a half long, and will run west along Alisal Street, a main thoroughfare through the downtown business district, beginning at the new Salinas Police station that’s under construction on the east side of downtown and ending at Central Park on the west side. A lateral will also connect City Hall to the network.

The route intersects several independent fiber networks, as well as infrastructure owned by major incumbent operators. The City plans to use the network to support its own operations – besides providing a direct, high capacity link between City Hall and the police station, it will interconnect traffic signals – but that’s just the beginning. According to the City’s press release

The installation of the fiber may also mean faster internet speeds for residents and businesses. The City intends to offer the fiber for use by private companies to provide affordable high-speed internet along the fiber route. The fiber can also be used by third parties to connect small cell antennas, which are necessary to increase current internet speeds and will ultimately be used to support a 5G network in Salinas.

Construction is expected to be completed by next Spring. Plans also call for another phase, which will extend the Salinas Municipal Network along Main Street, and for an extension through the Ag Tech Corridor in the southeast corner of the city.

The City’s Dig Once policy underpins the fiber build, which is just one element of a Downtown Complete Streets Project. The network will be supplemented by roughly three miles of empty conduit that was installed in earlier street projects.

The beginning of construction represents a major milestone in the implementation of a broadband development plan approved by the Salinas City Council in 2015, and supports the City’s policy of encouraging broadband infrastructure deployment, including expanded mobile network coverage and service.

I’m a consultant to the City of Salinas and assisted with the development of its broadband policy, plans and contracts. I’m not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.

City of Salinas Preliminary Broadband Plan, final version, 1 September 2015

City of Salinas, City Council Resolution, Policy Reducing Underground Excavation for Communications Infrastructure within the City Right Of Way, 15 November 2016
City of Salinas, Staff Report, Reducing Underground Excavation for Communications Infrastructure within the City Right Of Way, 15 November 2016

City of Salinas, City Council Resolution, Small Wireless Facility Regulations, 2 April 2019
City of Salinas, City Council Resolution, Small Wireless Facility Fees, 2 April 2019
City of Salinas, Staff Report, Small Wireless Facility Regulations and Fees, 2 April 2019

City of Salinas, City Council Resolution, Wireless Telecommunications Facility Lease Policy, 17 April 2018
City of Salinas, City Council Staff Report, Wireless Telecom Leasing Policy, 17 April 2018

Master License Agreement for Wireless Installations on Public Structures, by and between the City of Salinas and AT&T, 13 August 2019
City of Salinas, City Council Resolution, Authorising Mayor to Sign AT&T Master License Agreement, 13 August 2019
City of Salinas, Staff Report, License of City Facilities for Small Cell Sites, 13 August 2019