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The implementation of the City of Centennial's Fiber Master Plan is underway. As the City constructs its fiber backbone and continues to develop partnership opportunities, City Council has created a Fiber Commission to oversee Centennial FiberWorks, a program to implement the City’s fiber backbone. This backbone will connect and complete the City’s underground infrastructure, connecting to key City sites and other community anchor institutions. This backbone will enable both existing and new broadband providers to tie into the new infrastructure with the goal of providing better and more competitive choices and services for consumers.
Centennial FiberWorks and the Fiber Commission will continue efficient and cost effective planning, construction, operation and management of the City's fiber optic infrastructure. FiberWorks is formed as an operational department of the City and serves as a publicly-owned business operation. The continuing construction, use, maintenance, and extension of the City’s fiber optic infrastructure falls under the purview of FiberWorks. The Commission provides policy direction, management and day-to-day oversight of FiberWorks.
Users of FiberWorks will be both public and private entities with expectations for quick turnarounds on key issues involving engineering, planning, and potential partnerships. As contemplated, FiberWorks will be a function that differs from typical City operations in that it requires high levels of expertise and knowledge of the current and evolving telecommunications landscape. This five person Fiber Commission includes three City Council Members; Mayor Pro Tem and Fiber Commission Chair C.J. Whelan, District 4 Council Member and Fiber Commission Vice-Chair Stephanie Piko and District 3 Council Member Ken Lucas. Two Centennial residents will be appointed by the Commission in the next eight months. Council Members are selected by fellow Council Members to serve on the Commission.
“Since 2014, the three of us have served on the City’s Fiber Subcommittee to provide policy direction on next steps for constructing the City’s fiber backbone. The creation of this Fiber Commission allows continuity of knowledge already in place. It is the best outcome to balance the desires of City Council oversight while maintaining the technical knowledge of this group,” says Fiber Commission Chair Charles “C.J.” Whelan, Vice-Chair Stephanie Piko and Council Member Ken Lucas, in a joint statement. “We look forward to being a part of improving technological efficiency and sustainability throughout the City, enhancing opportunities for current and future businesses.“
History of the fiber optic infrastructure initiative
In November 2013, the City of Centennial secured voter approval to indirectly provide cable television service, telecommunication service, and high speed internet access to citizens and businesses and to enter into partnerships with others in the direct provision of one or more of such services. City Council then created a Fiber Steering Subcommittee comprised of City Council Members. The Subcommittee evaluated potential costs and benefits of extending a backbone of fiber optic infrastructure for municipal and public safety purposes and for use by residents, businesses, and public institutions. The Steering Subcommittee concluded significant benefits could be derived by the construction of a fiber optic backbone network located within designated rights of ways. In March 2016, City Council committed $5.7 million to completing this fiber network for the benefit of the community.