City likely to lease Concordia fiber optic bandwidth

Published 12:15 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The city of Selma will likely lease Concordia College Alabama some strands from its underground fiber optic system.

Concordia CFO Dexter Jackson said the additional fiber optics would help the college increase its Internet speed and boost long-distance learning programs.

“Wireless high-speed Internet is something our young people love. It will be a great benefit to the college,” Jackson said. “We are actually looking forward to a great partnership with the city.”

Concordia would pay the city of Selma $500 a per month for at least five years to access two fiber optic strands. The cables run near Concordia’s campus so installation shouldn’t be a problem, according to the city’s IT director Bessie Curtis.

The two strands represent only a fraction of the 72 strands that run underneath the city. The city of Selma currently uses just an additional two strands.

Having the extra fiber optics gives the city the ability to install Internet in all city-owned buildings as well as potentially sell more strands in the future.

The network was a key part of a $12.3 million bond issue voters approved in 2008. According to a Times-Journal article from August 2014, a total of $700,000 of the bond was budgeted for the fiber optics.

The network stretches about two miles from City Hall and was completed in late 2014 after tunneling under Norfolk Southern railroads tracks.

“It’s to help build the city’s infrastructure and economics of the city and make us more viable to industries that need high-speed networks, Curtis said.

Selma Mayor George Evans said he hopes the lease will Concordia will lead to similar partnerships.

“It’s an idea on how we would now try to make money off the fiber optics that are under ground,” Evans said. “It’s a case where the city can collaborate with local businesses and colleges and universities. It could certainly bring thousands of dollars to our city. Someone else may be interested in buying bandwidth.”

City attorney Jimmy Nunn is working to finalize a contract between the city and Concordia. The issue is expected to be brought up for a vote during Tuesday night’s council meeting.