Medina Fiber, a Community Network: Our Response to The Post article
An article published Friday in the Medina Post expressed concerns about a recent proposal Lit Communities made regarding a joint conduit build throughout the City of Medina.
We are honored to work and serve in a place where both leaders and residents care deeply about economic development projects, so we want to provide some clarity regarding our proposal.
1. The proposal described does not affect our internet service offering and reflects a “best practice” policy implemented by communities across the country.
Lit Communities and Medina Fiber have been working on installing a fiber internet network for the past two years and just connected our first customers this week. This proposal is not related to that network or our ability to deliver fiber internet services to local residents and businesses.
Instead, the proposal described concerns specific plans for the best way to build a joint use conduit duct bank along public rights of way. Namely, we’re proposing that we follow a “dig once” policy to avoid unnecessary disruption of residents and businesses in the City of Medina. This is a widely-followed policy that saves money and minimizes disruption for communities across the country that are installing fiber infrastructure. We are confident this plan is what’s best for the City of Medina and stand by that.
2. The City will not be responsible for the full cost of our fiber network build. Spare conduit is optional.
Medina Fiber is paying for the labor to open a trench and bore a conduit for the fiber network at no cost to the city. If the City decides to add spare conduit, we are only requesting the City cover the cost of that conduit and any additional labor at cost.
Spare conduit is essentially extra “pipe” that we lay while installing our fiber network past every home and business throughout the City. This would benefit the City by making it significantly easier for other utilities, such as water and power, to make future improvements at much lower costs and without the disruption additional digs would require.
By laying this spare conduit, the City would have an additional source of revenue, reduce costs for other city-wide improvements, and keep public rights of way looking beautiful. We are offering to make this improvement at cost, but it is an optional investment and does not affect our ability to deliver fiber internet.
3. Our proposal covers highest-possible costs and lowest-possible revenue scenarios.
The $3.6 million proposal reflects the cost of a fully-underground joint use conduit network. The City will also have the option to select where it places spare conduit to conserve costs, and we will work closely with the City to figure out and implement a plan that is a wise investment all around. Costs are only spent by the City when they decide to build spare conduit, and the build across all of Medina will take over a year to complete.
Furthermore, the estimated revenue of $7.9 million over 25 years reflects a case where only one “tenant” rents space in this spare conduit from the City. The experience of other cities shows that revenues are likely to be higher than that, allowing the City to potentially recoup its investment much sooner.
The Medina Post article also mentions a partnership between Medina Fiber/Lit Communities and the City of Dublin. We want to clarify that we have never worked or partnered with the City of Dublin. We only recommended looking at Dublin’s similar and highly successful joint-use program for an example of the benefits of the policy we’re proposing.
We are honored to serve and support the City of Medina and Medina County. Our partnership thus far has been positive for everyone involved. This latest proposal is just one more way we see an opportunity to better serve the people and businesses in Medina, but whether or not it is ultimately accepted, we are proud to live, work, and serve in this city.