HUDSON — Council is expected to vote later this month on a $450,000 bond issuance to pay for hooking up more customers to the city’s high-speed internet system.
Council on June 4 had a second reading of legislation to issue the bonds, which would cover the purchase and installation of equipment for the Velocity Broadband system. The third reading for the legislation is expected to happen June 18.
Velocity Broadband, which is owned and operated by the city of Hudson, has provided high-speed internet service to city businesses since 2015. During the past few months, Velocity has started offering the service to residents who live along the existing fiber lines.
The city previously sold $3.4 million in bonds to pay for Velocity expenses, according to Jody Roberts, the city’s communications manager. As of March, all but $141,359 of that money had been spent. Council in March approved Velocity’s new business plan, which included providing an additional $450,000 to the previous $3.4 million bond issuance, according to Roberts.
"The additional funding will allow us to connect the number of customers needed to achieve the results we’ve forecasted in the Velocity business plan," said Roberts. "The installations for businesses and residents will occur throughout the city, anywhere along the city’s fiber lines."
Velocity currently has 236 business customers and five residential customers. Roberts said Velocity is hoping to add 48 customers located along the existing fiber path this year. She explained the money will be used to install splice closures, splicing, drop cables, customer premises equipment and optics, and pay for the installers and professional services. The equipment would be installed as Velocity receives signed contracts from new customers.
Background on business plan
Council in March voted 5-2 in favor of Velocity’s business plan and to place accounting for the service into a separate enterprise fund. The funding for the broadband service previously came from the general fund.
Velocity previously had 659 potential customers in its market, with about 230 of that number currently using the service, said Will Ersing, chief broadband officer for Velocity. Velocity officials are hoping to sign up another 105 of those customers by the end of 2021, according to the business plan.
Ersing said his staff will is making the service available to another 853 potential customers who are along the existing fiber path.
"That would take our current market up to just a little over 1,500 potential customers," said Ersing in March. "We’re not looking to expand that core trunk. We’re simply looking at maximizing that fiber network that we already have and connecting people along that fiber path."
Roberts noted the initial estimate to take the fiber lines to all traditional businesses was $6.9 million, but noted the city was able to do that for $3.4 million.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.