Gahanna City Council is considering a request to increase the number of high-speed fiber-optics strands it leases to the Gahanna Community Improvement Corp. (CIC).

Gahanna City Council is considering a request to increase the number of high-speed fiber-optics strands it leases to the Gahanna Community Improvement Corp. (CIC).

Anthony Jones, the city's deputy director of development, told council's development and parks committee that the city needs to increase the number of fibers available to help provide a larger network for businesses.

"We need to use the fiber so companies can have access to a higher band network," he said.

In May 2009, council voted to allow the mayor to contract with the CIC to use two fiber strands for 15 years. The proposed contract would supersede that agreement and allow the CIC to lease a total of six fibers, with an option to increase to 48 fibers over the next 15 years.

According to the contract, two of the fibers would provide access outside the network. The other four would provide access within Gahanna's fiber network.

Tom Kneeland, Gahanna City Council president and vice president of the CIC, said the CIC is working with BlueMile, a company that operates transport fiber networks.

Kneeland said BlueMile would work to connect the two fibers that leave the city limits to a variety of providers. As they expand that network, BlueMile would be able to offer high-speed access from a number of companies to businesses in Gahanna using the other six fiber strands within the city limits.

"Businesses will jump at this opportunity, which makes their businesses more cost effective," Jones said.

Through the agreement, the city would receive a payment of $450 annually for each fiber the Gahanna CIC uses and a maintenance fee, to be prorated.

Greg Dunn of Scottenstein Zox & Dunn told the council committee that such an agreement would be good for Gahanna. He said several other communities have paid BlueMile to set up their connections with providers outside the network. This agreement would allow BlueMile to work with some of the fiber, establishing the network using the city's existing infrastructure.

The city's planning report states, "By modifying the current fiber agreement, the city will establish an increased rate of return on its public infrastructure investment."

According to the report, the agreement "provides a significant financial incentive for businesses to locate and expand their operations within the city of Gahanna" because of the access the network would provide to high-speed broadband services.

Council members questioned the specifics of the contract and asked for more information on how the network would work before deciding to forward the new contract onto the full council.

Council is expected to vote on the new contract April 5.

lwince@thisweeknews.com