City of Lakeland Hosts Community Forum to Discuss Possible Broadband Utility & Invites Public Comment Through Survey
LAKELAND, FL (September 11, 2019) | The Lakeland Commission is exploring the community’s interest in a City-operated broadband utility. A public forum will take place at the RP Funding Center on Tuesday, October 1st at 6 PM.
Broadband Community Forum Agenda | October 1, 2019
|6:00 PM||Open House with Information Stations|
|6:30 PM||Presentation on Assumptions & Risks|
|6:45 PM||Public Comment|
|7:45 PM||Closing Comments|
The City of Lakeland currently owns and operates over 330 miles of existing fiber-optics that spans the entire Lakeland Electric service territory. Originally the fiber was installed to create efficiencies so those working in the field could communicate with office operations. Over the years, the usage of this large fiber-optic network has expanded to provide high-speed internet connectivity to the Polk County School District, local libraries, public safety entities and Lakeland Electric for substation monitoring. The City also leases fiber to local businesses like Lakeland Regional Health and other large users that require ultra-high-speed internet. This public-owned asset is used primarily for City operations but with the growing demand for increasingly higher internet speeds, there is a desire to leverage the existing 330-mile fiber backbone and develop a business plan to offer residential broadband services.
Magellan Advisors provided a Broadband Business Plan that includes a possible pricing structure developed through industry standards, projected infrastructure costs and customer research specifically catered to the Lakeland market. There are substantial costs involved with connecting customers to this existing fiber network. An estimated $97.5M is required to pay for infrastructure that is needed to connect the last mile and bring fiber to customers within the Lakeland city limits. There are major competitors in the market that offer internet and bundled services. The Broadband Business Plan projects a 10-year time period before the new business would deliver a profit based on the factors of costs, pricing and buildout.
The City Commission believes it is vital that the community is part of the decision-making process and they look forward to community input on the subject. A survey tool has been developed so users can study the assumptions and risks involved with developing a City owned and operated broadband utility. This easy to use tool allows citizens to share their opinion and valuable feedback. Go to our Citizen Perspectives: Broadband Utility page to learn more or use this link to go directly to the survey. This tool is another powerful way to engage the public in the decision-making process.
The Broadband Community Forum taking place at the RP Funding Center on October 1st at 6 PM is another way to incorporate public opinion as the City Commission explores the possibility of offering broadband services to the Lakeland community.
The City of Lakeland was incorporated January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida. With a current population over 100,000 Lakeland continues to grow. It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years. With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor. The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 110 years ago.
For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please explore lakelandgov.net.
Citizens are also invited to follow the City on social media.