It’s slow work getting a high-speed network up and running.
According to Broadband Committee Chair Lucinda Morrison, the project is contractually slated to be completed by Dec. 31, 2018 — which it is on track to do. But the build-out for the five Community Anchor Institutions may start a little later than expected because of the myriad contracts that need to be written and signed to make the project — the funding of which voters approved at the most recent Financial Town Meeting in May — a reality. The five anchor institutions that will be connected to the high-speef fiber network are the Medical Center, the New Shoreham Police Station, the Island Free Library, the Block Island School and Town Hall.
“We have 14 contracts we’re working on right now,” said Morrison. “We are working on it.”
“The contracts are detailed,” said Finance Director Amy Land, an ex officio member of the Broadband Committee who has been working on the contracts with Town IT Specialist Michelle Spero, with input from the companies that will help design and build the network, OSHEAN and Sertex. OSHEAN will assist the town in designing the network and Sertex will assist the town in installing it.
The contracts, said Land, include one to “build out the fiber network, a managed services contract with OSHEAN for delivery and transport services so that when we build it, it operates. There are four separate managed-services agreements — for the Medical Center, school, library, and for the town which would capture all other service needs. You have maintenance agreements with OSHEAN and Sertex to maintain the fiber and to maintain the services, and pole attachment agreements with BIPCO and Verizon.” BIPCo and Verizon are co-owners of the poles onto which the fiber and other equipment will be attached.
Land said the writing of the contracts is based on detailed negotiations with all parties involved. A telecomm building will also need to be built for the connection between the fiber optic from the undersea transmission cable and the fiber that will be strung connecting the five institutions. (That building will be designed so that it can accommodate the needs of the island-wide network, which will be the second phase of the project.)
As for when installation of the project would begin, all Land could say at this point is “as soon as possible,” but she reiterated that the project will need to be delivered by the end of the year.