Farmington, New Mexico, currently has 80 miles of fiber and has decided to consider the best way to get the most out of the investment. The City uses the fiber network strictly for its Farmington Electric Utility System but sees potential in maximizing the power of the unused strands. Earlier this year, they commissioned a study from Elert & Associates to investigate the technical possibilities. Front Range Consulting reviewed the financial pros and cons.
In February, both experts provided options to the City Council. While offering triple play services is a possibility, both firms recommended leasing available fiber to existing ISPs instead. Expanding to a triple play offering would require a $100 million investment to connect the 32,000 current Farmington Electric Utility System’s customers.
Dick Treich, from Front Range Consulting, commented on the pushback to expect from Comcast and CenturyLink, if the City decided to pursue triple play retail services. From a February Farmington Daily Times article (this article is archived and available for purchase):
“They won’t sit still for that,” Treich said. “First they will challenge the legality of whether you can get into that option, possibly tying you down in court for a long time. They will also start the whole argument of public money being used for starting a private business. It would be a two-pronged attack.”
The City Council also pondered the option of leasing fiber, which would require a $1.5 million infrastructure investment. Also from the article:
“Five companies have expressed interest,” said Assistant City Manager Bob Campbell. “Assuming that those companies would each use approximately 10 miles of fiber, (they) would provide $170,000 annually leasing dark fiber.”
Bob Campbell, Acting Director of the General Services Department of Farmington, emailed us this update:
“…after the February meeting Council requested a study for the leasing of bandwidth, that report was presented to Council in May. Now staff will be making a presentation to Council in July asking Council to adopt a policy for the leasing of dark fiber. We hope to receive a favorable decision then in August/September we can issue an RFP for those interested in the City’s dark fiber leases.”