Community Broadband Utility Feasibility Study

Community Broadband Utility Feasibility Study

The Stillwater Utilities Authority Trustees have authorized funding for a feasibility study to determine if Stillwater should create a community owned and operated broadband utility.

As we move forward with the requests for proposals for the study, the Trustees want to hear from you about what questions and thoughts you have about having a community broadband utility in Stillwater.

We want to hear from you! Fill out the Speak Up, Stillwater! Input Form and tell us what questions you have about having a community broadband utility in Stillwater or your thoughts about this topic.

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Where Are We With This Topic?

Speak Up Stillwater Community Broadband Utility Feasibility Study Timeline

Sept. 17, 2018: Stillwater Utilities Authority approved staff's recommendation to fund a feasibility study in the estimated amount of $150,000 and to request proposals from the top three selected firms. Proposals will be negotiated and brought back to the trustees for consideration before executing a contract for services.

March 2018: Staff initiated a request for qualifications to perform a feasibility study on the possibility of establishing a community broadband utility. The City received 13 responses to the request and identified three top consulting firms for the study. The next step is to invite the selected firms to submit a proposal, including detailed scope of services and fee schedule.


Why Are We Talking About a Community Broadband Utility?

There are several potential models that might make up a system in Stillwater. The feasibility study will help the Trustees consider the following options:

  • Full-retail service: This option provides full network service directly to the public.

  • Dark fiber and conduit: This option provides infrastructure for lease to internet service providers.

  • Open access: This option builds and operates fiber network available to multiple independent service providers.

  • I-Net: This option connects and serves local public institutions with internet, such as city parks and buildings, with the potential for expanded services near those locations.

  • Partnerships with private providers, including Oklahoma State University, etc.


Why Is This Issue Important?

Community broadband has the potential to offer benefits to Stillwater including (but not limited to):

  • A community owned and operated network and associated potential revenue. Revenue projections would be one of the products of a feasibility study.

  • Symmetrical download and upload bandwidth of 1 Gigabit per second, which is substantially faster and more capable than anything currently available in Stillwater. This could provide enormous benefits to technology-driven industries and the public.

  • Community advantage in deployment of small cell and distributed antennae systems needed for 5G service.


Frequently Asked Questions about Community Broadband Utility

Q1: What exactly is the Stillwater Utilities Authority right now regarding community broadband utility?

  • The Stillwater Utilities Authority is in an exploratory phase to determine whether a community broadband utility system is possible and affordable for Stillwater. To do this, the Trustees recently approved funding for a feasibility study and a request for proposals for that study.

Q2: What will a feasibility study tell us?

  • The feasibilty study will tell us a number of things, including the potential for competition with private providers, the estimated cost to construct, operate and maintain the utility, and the revenue potential.

Q3: So how much is this going to cost me?

  • The feasibility study is funded through the Stillwater Utilities Authority contingency account.

Q4: When will we know if or when community broadband becomes a reality?

  • A lot of that depends on the results of the feasibility study. Currently, the Trustees are awaiting proposals for the survey from three firms. These survey proposals will then need to be negotiated and brought back to the Trustees for consideration before executing a contract for services.

Q5: Wait, so what about the other internet providers in town?

  • The private internet providers in Stillwater are not going anywhere. Part of the feasibility study's purpose is to tell us what the potential competition is with private providers. There are levels of service (primarily full-retail service) that may put the City in direct competition with private providers.


Who's Listening?