Metro Council Slows Efforts To Bring Ultra High Speed Internet to Louisville

Efforts to begin installing ultra high speed internet service in Louisville hit a snag at a Metro Council committee meeting this week.

The council’s Public Works, Bridges and Transportation committee declined to vote Wednesday on awarding three franchise agreements to companies that wish to begin running fiber cables to residential and commercial properties.

Committee members said they needed more details about the logistics of installing the fiber cable before sending the proposal to the full council.

Earlier: Louisville One Step Closer To Ultra High Speed Internet

Committee member Jerry Miller, a Republican representing Louisville’s 19th district, said he would like to know which city streets would be subject to damage during the installation process.

In the committee meeting, Miller said he wanted to know “how does that relate to the all this nice paving and striping we have done on our little Metro downtown streets.”

Providing a map of his businesses expected reach would be “very difficult” because projecting customers is unpredictable, said Norman Schippert, the CEO of BGN Networks.

“I don’t see how I am going to do that,” Schippert told the committee. 

The committee also requested a more inclusive strategic plan from the investors that outlines plans for reaching customers.

Committee member Kelly Downard, a Republican representing Louisville’s 16th district, said he was uneasy approving 20-year franchise agreements when the requesting companies were not clear on their own growth plan.

“I’m really reluctant to give somebody a franchise for the entire city for something they don’t have a clue what they are going to do,” he said.

The three companies — Sifi Networks, BGN Networks and Fiber Technologies — will adhere to the committee’s requests and provide a map and a detailed strategic plan at the next meeting on Tuesday, said Ted Smith, the director of the city’s office for economic growth and innovation.

Smith said the maps, though not usually shared by industry investors for competitive concerns, will be detailed to help the committee members see what is being planned for the installation process.

Smith said he hopes no more setbacks will happen.

“This is private capital being invested in Louisville that will create jobs—it is not taxpayer money that is at stake here,” he said.  ”I’m at a loss for what the over arching concern is here.”

The committee is set to vote on the proposal next week at its regular meeting, Smith said.

Jacob Ryan

Jacob Ryan is the Urban Affairs reporter for WFPL.

@jacobhryan

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