City Council is moving forward on a plan that would bring speedier Internet to New Braunfels.

On Monday, council approved without comment spending about $57,000 in 4B funds to hire broadband consultants Magellan Advisors to facilitate the development of a public/private partnership that would provide the faster Internet service.

Under the plan, the city would build a poles-and-wires, utility-like infrastructure system for fiber-based, high-speed Internet and hire a private firm to provide and operate the Internet services via the city’s system.

The operator would pay the city a share of its revenues, Magellan’s Courtney Violette of Denver, Colo., said during a joint council/4B workshop on the subject in late March.

If the plan works, faster, more reliable and more affordable broadband would become available in New Braunfels, giving users improved play of video content on smartphones and other devices and helping the city retain and recruit tech-dependent businesses.

An initial system that would serve businesses in five areas across the city is estimated to cost somewhere in the $3.4 to $5.3 million range, according to Violette. Businesses customers would pay about $150 per month.

The system could be expanded to serve residential areas. Typically that expansion would occur after a certain percentage — about 40 percent — of residents in a residential area agree to become customers. The system could eventually be scaled-up to serve the entire city.

Assistant City Manager Kristi Aday said during the March workshop that local officials have been looking into ways to improve the city’s broadband services for about 18 months.

Last year, as part of that effort, Magellan was hired to conduct a Broadband Feasibility Study which found the lack of fiber-based Internet to be a major roadblock for local businesses.

On Monday, council approved the hiring of Magellan for Phase 2 of the Broadband Feasibility Study as part of its 18-item consent agenda, in which routine and non-controversial items are approved in one motion without separate discussion of the items.

(2) comments

Jim ALSTON

With Google Broadband being installed in nearby San Antonio, promising gigabit internet speeds, I'll be willing to bet that the 3.5 - 5.3 million dollars estimated to install a much slower service in New Braunfels would go a long way towards bringing that service here. Plus - the $57K advisory costs could be saved. Why try to re-invent the wheel?

pzs9mm

This is a profoundly bad idea. There are any number of very experienced tech professionals in NB who could easily speak to the many reasons this is ill fated from the start. Not the least of which is the city government is poorly suited to become a fiber provider. The city should spend it's precious resources on things that deliver value and keep the bureaucrats away from trying to create "profit centers" such as this. If there is such a clamor for fiber speeds and so many lined up to pay for it, the market will deliver it. Unless I misread the original report from Magellan, even they thought it was not such a great idea.(not that they are a household name, by any means) I'm surprised that no one is even commenting on this, nor showing any concerns. Guess it is just me.

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