The Charleston Gazette-Mail news-portal reported that the city council of South Charleston has approved a resolution that will allow Alpha Technologies Inc. to start deployment of fiber optic network and related infrastructures in the city. The right given to Alpha is non-exclusive. On Thursday’s meeting, the city council approved the resolution through a unanimous voice vote.
Alpha had started the design and planning for the network in December 2015 itself. Alpha’s plans included the construction of around 48 kilometers of fiber network for an estimated amount of US$5 million. The network was designed to be underground, meaning that the cables would be laid either directly under the soil or pulled through ducts installed under the ground..
In contrast with aerial network, underground network construction cost is higher but has certain advantages like protection from direct weather and environmental stresses, lightning surge etc. However, underground network infrastructure need to be protected from water. Fiber optic cable designs for aerial and underground applications are also different in order to suit specific application and environment. The underground fiber-optic network will run through downtown Charleston, Kanawha City and South Charleston.
The fiber optic network is designed to connect the former Union Carbide Corp. data center to telecommunications hubs, commercial centers and government buildings. The network would be capable of providing a gigabit connection, which is 100 times faster than the average broadband speed.
Alpha is headquartered in Hurricane. In 2012 the company bought the data center for $6.1 million from The Dow Chemical Co. The center is in the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston. Alpha Technologies Inc., a member of The Alpha Group, provides the Cable TV/Broadband, Industrial and Renewable Energy industries with the most reliable, technologically advanced and cost-effective powering solutions available. Alpha offers innovative powering solutions that are designed for the future; built to support expansion and provide unlimited opportunity. Widely used in cable television, communications and data networks worldwide, Alpha products have earned a reputation for reliability and performance. Alpha provides a full line of power products including: standby, non-standby and uninterruptible power supplies, surge suppressors, enclosures, batteries and powering accessories.
Alpha had agreed with the city council to provide South Charleston with exclusive control and ownership of four dark fibers within a single fiber tube contained within a single fiber bundle. “Dark fiber” refers to unused fiber-optic cable, which can be provided to entities that want to establish connections among their own locations.
The memorandum of understanding signed between both parties says Alpha provides the fiber network “to help facilitate greater connectivity for the city’s facilities, thereby increasing the efficiency of city operations.” Alpha agreed to grant the city “most favored vendee” status. This means that if the city purchases or leases any services from Alpha, it will receive terms no less favorable than the best terms offered to any other Alpha customer.
The city agreed that the fiber provided by Alpha will be used only for governmental or public purposes and that the city will not lease, assign or otherwise convey its fiber to any for-profit entity to be used in any manner that results in direct competition with Alpha. Alpha previously struck deals with the city of Charleston and the West Virginia Division of Highways. Charleston and the DOH also agreed to grant Alpha access under streets and along roadways in return for fiber that can be used once the loop is built.