Herriman to build citywide fiber-optic networkNov 07, 2023 11:06AM ● By Elisa Eames
Herriman City hopes to start construction on a new fiber-optic network this spring. (Pixabay)
Herriman City plans to build a fiber-optic municipal broadband network accessible to residents and businesses. The network will provide residents with numerous choices for high-speed internet while linking city services together to increase efficiency and efficacy.
“The city council feels that quality, high-speed internet access is vital to serve the community’s needs in our modern era,” explained city officials. “Fiber optics is a state-of-the-art technology that can serve our city with reliable, high-speed internet access for decades to come. The network will… serve every resident and business in Herriman…”
The city believes the new network will improve education, telemedicine, communication, remote work and business development.
Because private internet service providers have declined to build fiber-optic networks in Herriman themselves, many areas within the city have few internet options. In addition to offering high-speed internet, the network will also provide the infrastructure for competition among multiple internet service providers.
In 2021, the city created a Broadband Task Force to explore community broadband options, and in a March 2022 report to the city council, the task force deemed a citywide broadband network indispensable “for essential city service efficiencies and… enhanced quality of life…” and for continued economic growth. Two months later, Herriman surveyed residents to gauge interest in a public network and found that interest was substantial.
At the recommendation of the task force, which reviewed bids submitted in September of 2022, the city has partnered with Strata Networks to develop and design the system. The monthly fee that Herriman residents would see is estimated at $15, and private internet service providers will be able to use the network as well. The network will grant users speeds up to 10 megabits per second, but residents will also be able to purchase higher speeds via private companies that use the infrastructure.
“Our current projections show that even with a monthly utility fee, the cost of upgraded high-speed internet will meet or even beat current market prices… Residents will also see enhanced municipal services as the network will upgrade the city’s ability to manage traffic infrastructure, stormwater flow, water usage and connectivity for first responders,” the city noted.
Herriman officials emphasize that the fiber-optic project will not use any tax revenue. “The city council will not approve the project if any city tax funds are needed to support it,” officials confirmed, though the ownership of the network has yet to be determined. Herriman may opt to create a public utility, which would be separate from the city, or the city itself may own the network. Whichever entity claims ownership will fund the project by issuing a bond to be repaid using utility fees and income earned as internet service providers pay to use the infrastructure.
In addition, no one will be forced to use or pay for the network. “...While we believe this project will greatly benefit our entire community, we respect individual property owners’ choices,” the city said. Herriman will assume by default that residents and businesses will take advantage of the network, however, any person may opt out if they don’t want access. Those who do opt out should be aware that to opt in later, the full cost to connect will land on their shoulders, and it will come with a hefty price tag—perhaps thousands of dollars.
Construction could begin as early as this spring, and the entire project is expected to be completed in three years. For more information, visit herriman.org/fiber-internet. λ