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Grover Beach plan to install fiber-optic broadband network moves forward

A sign greets people entering Grover Beach.
A sign greets people entering Grover Beach. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Grover Beach is moving ahead with long-held plans to install an ultrafast fiber-optic broadband network throughout the city.

The Grover Beach City Council has authorized the city to enter into agreements with Digital West to design and engineer the first phase of the city’s broadband network, which will service the city’s industrial and commercial areas.

The council also voted to bring back a revised agreement for the San Luis Obispo-based company to provide construction management services while the conduit and other infrastructure is installed. The city still needs to go through a public bidding process to select a contractor to install the conduit.

Digital West would lease the conduit from the city, install the fiber, and own and manage the fiber system, according to a staff report by City Manager Bob Perrault.

The company would also provide city access to the fiber for public purposes and pay the city 5.1 percent of all gross revenues from the operation of the network in the city. The council still needs to approve a revised lease agreement.

Subsequent phases would extend the network based on demand.

“It has huge potential for attracting businesses,” Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson said of the network.

Peterson said some conduit has already been installed. Additional conduit would be placed in various streets including parts of Rockaway and Longbranch avenues and south Fourth, south 11th and south 16th streets, among others.

The total project cost is estimated at $927,000, with Grover Beach’s share capped at $500,000.

San Luis Obispo County officials — who want to bring broadband to serve county-owned buildings on South 16th Street — have indicated that the county will pay up to $268,000 of the project cost.

The rest, an estimated $159,000, would be covered by Digital West.

With the council’s approval, Digital West is also expected to develop a marketing program focused on existing Grover Beach businesses as well as other high-tech businesses.

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