The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously voted to award up to $5.37 million in contracts to four companies to connect 50 government and schools facilities to a countywide fiber optic network.
Through the ConnectArlington program, the county and Arlington Public Schools will ultimately build 60 miles of fiber optics to connect 70 county government and public schools facilities, along with the county's traffic management system and public radio network.
The first phase of the project should be completed in about a year; full deployment of ConnectArlington should be complete by fall 2015.
“It is exciting to see our County’s telecommunications system for the 21st century begin to become a reality,” Arlington County Board Chairwoman Mary Hynes said in a statement.
“ConnectArlington is a technology backbone investment that will yield great benefits for Arlington’s students, residents and visitors for years to come. It will provide a safe, reliable, secure system that expands Arlington’s communications capacity and speeds up the transfer of information.”
Connecting each site will be divided into a series of tasks, each of which will be given to four different contractors on a rotating basis in order from lowest to highest bidder, according to a county staff report. The tasks generally range from $18,000 to $175,000, with the average project costing $50,000.
Work was awarded Saturday to: KCI Convergent Technologies in Hanover, Md.; N to N Fiber in Manassas; Jones Utilities Construction in Fredericksburg; and Southern Maryland Cable in Tracy's Landing, Md.
ConnectArlington is designed to replace what the county has deemed a deteriorating, low-capacity system that was installed as part of a cable franchise agreement with Comcast more than 20 years ago.
The project is expected to increase the bandwidth available at county and schools facilities, allowing for streaming media, video conference, distance learning and one-on-one learning programs that will be available 24/7, according to a county news release.
The county and Comcast are currently in the long process of renewing the cable company's franchise agreement.