Upper Arlington City Council will consider a number of ordinances next week that would lead to the construction of a citywide fiber-optic network.

Upper Arlington City Council will consider a number of ordinances next week that would lead to the construction of a citywide fiber-optic network.

The city, Upper Arlington schools and Upper Arlington Public Library are expected to partner on an approximately $2.5-million project to build a 30-mile fiber network that will reach 40 locations around the city's boundaries.

That network would provide high-speed Internet services to all city, school and library buildings, and most public parks, Assistant City Manager Dan Ralley said during the Monday, Oct. 19, council conference session.

It also would provide connectivity among the three entities' facilities and would allow the city -- through a third party -- to lease some of the 288 fiber strands to commercial companies.

"You're seeing municipalities across the country, as well as central Ohio, see fiber networks as critical pieces of their infrastructures," Ralley said. "The city will own this asset and ultimately maintain it, but by sharing those costs with Upper Arlington schools and the library."

Under the plan to go to council, the school district would pay $177,900 annually for nine years to pay off the project.

The city would pay $68,484 each year over that period and the library would contribute $17,616.

The agreement gives each of the three partners the right to use the fiber network for the initial repayment period, and they would be offered three extensions of five years each.

"The city of Upper Arlington, the Upper Arlington schools and the Upper Arlington library all currently lease broadband lines from telecom providers to connect their various facilities at a combined annual expense of $264,000," Ralley stated in a staff report to council. "These lease charges are in addition to, and separate from, bandwidth expenses for Internet access that each entity also incurs.

"The construction of city-owned fiber optic lines connecting all city, school and library locations within Upper Arlington will provide cost savings to each entity by eliminating the long-term expense of leasing private broadband lines. After the initial fiber construction costs are recouped, with each entity paying an annual amount equaling their current annual broadband lease expenses, each organization will achieve cost savings for broadband access through the continued use of the Community Fiber Network."

The city was awarded a $500,000 state grant to pay for a portion of the network's construction, which Ralley said would reduce the overall cost of the project by 20 percent.

Additionally, the city will receive a $1 million loan through a Franklin County Infrastructure Loan Program. The loan will come with a 1.75-percent interest rate and will be paid back over 10 years.

"We become one of the first communities in Franklin County to take advantage of an economic development loan program," Upper Arlington City Manager Ted Staton said.

Ralley's staff report stated the city would save approximately $1,280 a month for Internet service by building its own fiber network.

Officials did not indicate when network construction would be completed, but Ralley said the school district would be connected to it first, and that could occur as soon as next year.