A global tech company has its eye on Saratoga Springs, hoping to install a fiber optic network throughout the city.
“This would be the fiber infrastructure that would go on every city street, to every business, to every resident,” said Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan.
Commissioner Madigan said that if this happens, the network would give residents, businesses, schools and the hospital access to high-speed internet and could boost economic opportunity.
“To be able to say that we are a gig city would attract tech companies and other companies that maybe want to relocate to Saratoga Springs to do business,” she said.
Commissioner Madigan said that the company, SiFi, reached out to her after seeing Saratoga’s Smart City Roadmap, a plan to make the city more efficient and user-friendly. Madigan said that a fiber-optic network would help facilitate that goal.
“Smart cities is really all-encompassing. It’s no longer a trend, a word. It’s doing smart parking management, the ability to come to a city and pay for parking on an application through your phone; smart lighting; Wi-Fi that you may have in your downtown area; the ability to manage your streets,” said Commissioner Madigan. “It’s all the technology that sits on infrastructure like that, that makes cities smarter, using led lighting, being able to turn down lighting during slower times to save money for city residents, for taxpayers.”
Commissioner Madigan said that the city and company still need to come to an agreement. She said that the company would not charge the city for installation, but does need access from the city for the right of way.
“The devil is in the details, but so far this is looking like a positive potential project for the City of Saratoga Springs,” said Commissioner Madigan.
If the plan does go through, Commissioner Madigan said she anticipates the city and company will sign an agreement by the end of this year or beginning of next. The project would then go through a planning process and the goal would be for construction to begin in the Spring. She said the project should take 18 months to two years to complete because of the number of streets in Saratoga Springs.
Commissioner Madigan said that the company uses an installation process called micro-trenching that does not tear up the streets, so she said there would be minimal effect on traffic.
There will be two public hearings before an agreement is reached. The first will be on November 6th at 6:50. The second will be later in November.
Ben Bawtree-Jobson, CEO at SiFi Networks released this statement:
“SiFi Networks is in an exploratory phase working with the City to determine whether a privately funded, open access, fiber optic network is a project that would work for our investors and the residents and businesses of the City.”