Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that the City has entered into a lease agreement with NebraskaLink, a broadband service provider based in Lincoln, to extend its fiber optic infrastructure to the City. NebraskaLink will use the fiber optic conduit grid recently installed in downtown Lincoln. Beutler said the downtown Lincoln Technology Improvement District (LTID) has recently been expanded to include all City-owned conduit throughout the community.
"Access to a variety of broadband services and providers is becoming an expectation and is certainly integral to creating a positive business climate," Mayor Beutler said. "It's estimated there are more than 1,000 business and governmental entities employing over 40,000 people in the LTID alone. Enabling this infrastructure enhances our ability to retain employers and increases the likelihood of attracting new business opportunities to our community. This is yet another example of how the City can be a catalyst for strengthening our position in a competitive business environment."
In addition to providing fast, affordable and reliable broadband connections, Beutler said the conduit system will provide a new revenue stream for the City as providers lease space.
"As members of the community, we're excited to make new alternatives and technologies available to enterprise, public sector, education, telecommunications and healthcare organizations throughout the City," said Paul Ludwick, CEO of NebraskaLink. "We're very proud to partner with the City of Lincoln and its progressive leadership in making available the same products and services in Lincoln that are routinely offered in much larger and more urban metro areas."
The installation of the downtown conduit was funded with $700,000 from the City's Fast Forward Fund. Mayor Beutler established the Fast Forward Fund in 2009 to assist with infrastructure improvements that help drive economic development and job creation. The installation of the downtown fiber conduit was timed to coincide with the major downtown street rehabilitation project. The conduit project was supported by the Downtown Lincoln Association and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.
"The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Partnership for Economic Development (LPED) are committed to creating a business climate that promotes the addition of new quality jobs and new companies for Lincoln," said Wendy Birdsall, President of the Chamber and LPED. "The availability of telecommunication options was identified a primary need for existing business to grow and entrepreneurs to flourish. That was why we supported the conduit project last year, and we are very pleased that the investment the City made into this necessary infrastructure has attracted new investment from the private sector in an area that will promote economic development opportunities and business growth. Hopefully more companies will see Lincoln as an opportunity for growth and that our city supports the necessary investments for new business."
More information on NebraskaLink is available at nebraskalink.com.