(TNS) — CHEYENNE – Mayor Marian Orr on Tuesday announced a plan to bring high-speed broadband internet access to the downtown and West Edge district of Cheyenne.
Speaking downtown at the Array School of Technology & Design, Orr announced her plan to seek a six-month moratorium on public right-of-way fees for the installation of the fiber optic cables high-speed internet connections rely on. The idea, she said, is to provide incentive to broadband internet service providers who have wanted to come into Cheyenne, but have been put off by the existing fees. Orr noted the fees downtown come to $2.50 per linear foot, which she said is a needlessly onerous expense and a barrier to proper redevelopment in the downtown and West Edge areas.
“I believe high-speed internet availability to every location in downtown and the West Edge is every bit as critical as the ability to turn on the lights,” Orr said. Eric Trowbridge, the headmaster for Array, said that as his school has grown, so too have its broadband needs. But without the sort of gigabit-speed access enjoyed by Wyoming towns like Worland and Thermopolis, he and his students’ wireless devices can only do so much before they hit a data bottleneck.
“As a school, this is not, ‘Oh it’d be nice,’ this is ‘We need this,'” Trowbridge said. “We’re proud of Array and have a lot of big dreams and visions for our school.
In three to five years we want to be one of the nation’s best tech and design schools. This fiber network is the first step to ensuring we can do things like that.”
Dave Teubner, the co-founder of West Edge marketing agency Warehouse Twenty One, agreed that opening the door to affordable high-speed internet will be critical to growing his own business and helping to foster new ones in a portion of town that has great potential to be a hub for tech business.
“You’re not eating into a competitive advantage with this, you’re getting to a baseline,” Teubner said. “This is need-to-have infrastructure, and I think this (fee moratorium) is a game changer.”
Orr said any moratorium on fiber right-of-way fees would need to be formally approved by the City Council, and she hopes to see a resolution work its way through the body over the coming weeks, in time to have the moratorium in place through the last six months of this year. She noted that she’s already gotten an enthusiastic response from councilmen Scott Roybal, Jeff White and Pete Laybourn, who represent the ward where the moratorium would be in effect.
As to whether the moratorium might actually spur broadband providers to come to Cheyenne, Orr said she’s been in talks with several such providers about what sorts of incentives they’re looking for.
“There’s been interest expressed, but the right-of-way fees have really been an extreme barrier,” she said, adding that with Tuesday’s announcement, “I have two companies that are very excited.”
Once a company is able to get approval to install fiber optic lines in the downtown or West Edge area, Orr said they may pursue a franchisee agreement with the city that would allow them to continue operating and expanding without any further fear of right-of-way fees in the future.
“Hopefully within six months they could start laying fiber,” Orr said. “The city would then get a portion of the revenue they get from their monthly fees and contracts with individuals.
“Talking with provider companies, they’re very excited about coming in and providing this opportunity,” Orr added. “And I think we’re going to have some really exciting conversations here in the next couple of weeks.”
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Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr is proposing s six-month moratorium on public rights- of -way fees in the downtown Cheyenne area and the West Edge as a way to encourage broadband internet providers to offer service in that area. The proposal would need to be approved as a resolution by the Cheyenne City Council before taking effect. The right-of-way fees are fees charged by the city for the use of city rights-of-ways/infrastructure for various lines, including those used to carry electricity and high-speed internet service. The fees are currently levied at a rate of $2.00 per linear foot per month. Orr said the fees currently cost some businesses thousands or even tens-of-thousands of dollars per year.
By contrast, in much smaller communities, such as Thayne, Wyo., the fees could cost as little as $300. If the city council signs off on the proposal, the moratorium would run for the rest of 2017. Since the resolution would have to go through two readings in the city council, it would likely take effect in early June, running about six months or so until Dec.
Orr made her proposal on Tuesday morning at the Array School of Technology and Design in downtown Cheyenne. The mayor said that school’s founder, Eric Trowbridge, had repeatedly asked her why communities such as Worland and Thermopolis are gigabit cities, which have fiber availability at the doorstep of every home and business, but Cheyenne, the state’s Capital City, doesn’t. Orr says having high-speed internet access for many businesses isn’t a luxury, but rather a necessity.
She says she is hoping that broadband providers will be attracted to the area due to the fee waiver, which in turn may bring in businesses that utilize high-speed broadband.
The mayor says she has already been contacted by a couple of companies that are interested in providing broadband service to the proposed Enterprise Zone.
This is the eighth time in a year I have used part or all of the above title. Less than two months since about half the Labour group tried to remove Cardiff council leader Phil Bale, there is more discontent and the Civil War among Cardiff’s Labour Councillors continues unabated with for former Labour deputy leader of Cardiff council has attacking the group, saying it does not understand how to run the city. Ralph Cook has quit Labour after its Cardiff council group suspended him from serving on council committees. He was suspended by the party as punishment for breaking the whip and opposing its transport plan last year. Trowbridge and St Mellons Labour councillor Ralph Cook was suspended from the Labour group for six months on Monday after his group found he had broken the party whip. The former deputy council leader s suspension is a result of a hearing last November when Coun Cook publicly called for the Labour group s transport plan to go back to the group for further discussion. During the meeting, he described the plan as a complete lack of vision , a collection of thoughts with nothing giving it any cohesiveness at all . In May he was selected as chairman of the environment scrutiny committee by the full council. Since his suspension the Labour group has decided to inform Coun Cook he will no longer be heading up the committee.
and has been removed from all committees by current council leader Phil Bale. So although elected to be chairman of of the committee by the whole council the Council Leader has used his powers to override this in a what seems a vindictive mane In an email to all councillors on Friday evening, Coun Cook stated:
I have just learnt that as an additional sanction for my extremely minor infringement with substantial mitigation of the Labour group standing orders at the meeting of full council on November 27, 2014, I have now been removed from all council committees with immediate effect by the Labour leadership.
This sanction was not referred to during my show trial on Monday evening and has not been discussed or decided by the Labour group.
And so it is with deep regret that I can no longer remain a member of a political group consisting of so many nasty, vindictive, cruel and incompetent politicians as the Cardiff Labour group of councillors.
A spokeswoman for the Labour group dismissed Mr Cook’s comments. It is the latest in a series of disagreements within the Cardiff Labour group. here1 and here2. There is speculation others who had tried to remove leader Phil Bale in May will now jump ship and form a “Rainbow” Coalition with opposition members to remove Bale and take control of the council . But if I was the leader of Plaid LibDems or Tories on the council I would be wary of joining an fraction unless I was sure that they were wiling to forget their former internal squabbles and concentrate on the future of our Capitol.