Pico Rivera residents and businesses will soon have access to high-speed internet as part of a deal the city has with Delaware-based SiFi Network.
SiFi Network will build about 260 miles of citywide fiber-optic cable at no cost to Pico Rivera, but will make money by selling space on its network to internet service providers, said acting director Terry Rodrigue. city public works. Council at its meeting on 25 January.
It is estimated to be an investment of $50 million to $60 million over a five-year period, Rodrigue said.
Council members approved the deal by a vote of 4 to 1.
“This is a major step in creating opportunity, access and equity for the people of Pico Rivera,” Mayor Monica Sanchez said in an emailed statement.
“High-speed Internet access is a critical piece of infrastructure that enhances educational opportunities for residents, enables remote learning and working options, supports the competitiveness of existing businesses, and promotes economic development,” said writes Sanchez.
City officials had considered setting up their own system, but the cost ranged from $4 million for a bottom-ring-only network to $40 million for a full system, Rodrigue said.
Additionally, the city would have to fund a full-time department to operate the system, which would require us to set up an enterprise-like department, he said.
Officials were considering such a system because only 41% of residents have access to a fiber optic network and 18% have access to a gigabyte speed.
The Si Fi Networks system would provide speeds of up to 10G, Rodrigue said.
Scott Bradshaw, president of SiFi Networks, said his system should be completed in two to four years. He predicted that the retail rate for Internet access would be between $60 and $100.
Additionally, Si Fi Networks runs a program to provide internet at a cost of $30 per month for families in financial difficulty, Rodrigue said.
If Fi Networks already operates in 17 cities around the world, Bradshaw said.
Councilor Raul Elias voiced the only no.
“It’s a complex business model and there are a lot of nuances,” Elias said.
“I come from a school where I get very worried when they say nothing costs anything,” he said. “There is no free lunch.”
But Councilman Andrew Lara said it was a good deal for the city.
“I’m very excited about this project,” Lara said. “It’s not a cost to the city and it brings a level of competition and variety that I think city residents don’t have right now.”