Chesterton Tribune



Bids are ballpark for construction of fiber optic network in Chesterton

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The bids are in for the construction of a fiber optic network in the Town of Chesterton, and they’re ballpark.

At a special meeting on Monday, the Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously to take the two bids are under advisement.

The bids:

* Main path: $1,147,778.06, from CSU Inc. of Plainfield, Ind. Alternate path: $85,895.85.

* Main path: $1,889,716.98, from Nitco of Hebron. Alternate path: $148,140.98.

John Nekus of Monroe Street Group, the Chicago consultancy tapped by the commission in 2016 to shepherd the town through the process of getting a fiber optic network up and running, told the Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that the bids fall comfortably within the originally estimated $1.5 million to $2 million window.

The commission is now free to complete a 25-year operator’s agreement with Nitco--the Hebron DSL and broadband provider which designed the network--as well as an ancillary irrevocable right of use agreement with Spread Networks for access to the latter’s fiber line between New York and Chicago.

When completed, Neckus said, the town’s network will be “totally self-sufficient,” with “the highest bandwidth and speed in the industry.”

The idea behind the fiber optic network: to provide business--as well as the Duneland Schools--with the telecommunications technology needed to compete in the digital 21st century. Neckus has said that fiber optic networks have become as much an “infrastructure imperative” for municipalities as clean water, natural-gas and electric service, and sewer treatment.

The network’s hub will be located at the municipal complex at 1490 Broadway and its 13.8-mile line--the main path--will traverse the town, while an alternate path, as provided by bid specifications, would link Yost Elementary School in the Town of Porter. The actual construction is expected to be minimally invasive, most of it done by boring, and Town Engineer Mark O’Dell said that the town will not need to acquire any additional right-of-way for the project.

The town itself will own the conduit and the fiber optic line and will split revenues with the operator under the terms of a profit-sharing agreement.

The project will be funded with tax increment financing moneys.



Posted 10/12/2017




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