Tucson, Arizona Institutional Network
TCI is building an I-Net in Tucson in what appears to be a very favorable arrangement for the City. The City obtained the commitment in the course of a transfer negotiation, in which TCI was selling the system to Cox. TCI's existing franchise agreement from 1984 required the construction of an I-Net, but the requirement had never been enforced. The City insisted that TCI comply with the requirement before approving the transfer, which led to the current work.
The I-Net will consist of a separate sheath of cable, distinct from the commercial system, which will be owned by the City. It will also be operated and maintained by the City.
The I-Net will consist of 24 strands of fiber, 125 miles in length. Twenty-two strands will be used by the City. Two will be reserved for schools and arts groups. The I-Net will serve 70 City buildings and 21 buildings for the schools and arts groups.
TCI will fund the entire cost of the fiber and its installation and will contribute $1,075,000 for the electronics required to "light" the fiber. TCI will run the fiber to a panel in each of the buildings to be connected. He estimates the cost of running fiber from the pole to each building at $2,000 (fiber and labor). The City and other users will be responsible for the cost of the equipment in each building which the City estimates at $15,000 to $20,000 per building.
The City will maintain the I-Net and will, therefore, bear the maintenance costs, which the City estimates at approximately $500,000 per year.
The City estimated that it would cost $15 million to build such a system itself. TCI posted a bond of $8 million to cover the costs, however, representing TCI's estimate of the costs. The telecom administrator noted that the costs might be higher in other cities, to the extent that the facilities are built underground. In Tucson, 120 of the 125 miles of the system will be installed above-ground on poles.
Tucson used Columbia Telecommunications as its technical consultant, the same consultant used by the City of Pittsburgh.
TCI I-Net Agreement: http://www.ci.tucson.az.us/infotech/inet2.html