Carver County Open Fiber Initiative (CCOFI)
Carver County is currently midway through the Carver County Open Fiber Initiative (CCOFI), a fiber optic broadband project that will connect all 11 cities in the County to high-speed internet services.
The $7.5 million project is partially funded with nearly $6 million in federal stimulus grant funds through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The County is providing nearly $1.5 million in funding through a draw-down of reserve funds. No debt is being issued to support the project.
County staff designed the project with the goal of leveraging grant funding to allow for the largest number of users to connect to the ring. The 89-mile base ring with its 33 miles of laterals will initially connect 55 sites representing 86 community organizations. Members of the CCOFI Collaborative include city, county and township governments, fire departments, schools, public safety towers, law enforcement agencies, healthcare and community support organizations.
The fiber ring will enable public entities to function more effectively and efficiently. For example, Carver County will be able to centralize equipment and operations, eliminate the cost of subscriber T1 copper line services, and reap the benefits of increased levels of service and capacity for growth. The County’s financial payback on owning the ring is five years, based on the cost of leasing fiber. While services vary across the county, the fiber ring is generally expected to help the other CCOFI partners contain costs and have a higher level of service.
The fiber ring is also expected to enhance communication and educational opportunities and set the stage for future growth and development in Carver County. The fiber ring is an open network, which means it is designed to have one or more private service providers selling broadband services on the network. These private companies will have equal opportunity to deploy last-mile infrastructure to the ring and provide network management to private businesses and residents.
At the end of 2011, approximately 80 miles of conduit construction on the base ring was completed and another 8 miles of construction for select laterals was completed. The County had expended approximately $3.4 million of its overall budget. The Project Status site offers detailed updates on the project, which will be completed in 2013.