Vicky O. Misa The Shawnee News-Star firstname.lastname@example.org
A ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday morning officially began the start of Bluepeak’s plan to construct a new cable system in Shawnee.
At an event held at Vision Bank, Bluepeak leaders celebrated the start of their effort to build a high-speed fiber network intended to serve more than 16,000 residences and businesses in the community.
A meet-and-greet was also offered at Gordon Cooper Technology Center that afternoon to educate residents on the plan.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the City of Shawnee to build a next-generation, fiber-to-the-home network,” Bluepeak CEO Rich Fish said.
With Bluepeak’s advanced fiber connection, a press release from the company states residential customers can get up to 5 gigabits of symmetrical bandwidth and businesses can get up to 10 gigabits and beyond of symmetrical bandwidth.
“High-speed internet is vital in attracting new residents and businesses to our area,” Rep. Dell Kerbs said. “As our community grows, so does our need for high-quality options and I am pleased to welcome Bluepeak to Shawnee to be one of those options.”
In January, Shawnee City Commissioners approved an ordinance granting the non-exclusive permit to Bluepeak for the construction and operation of a cable system.
Assistant City Manager Jacob Foos said although most franchise agreements are exclusive and require a vote of the people, Oklahoma state law provides that cable television systems must be approved through non-exclusive agreements.
In January, Desi Stoops, vice president of market development with Bluepeak, said total investment in the state is estimated at $250 million to $300 million.
In Shawnee the investment in infrastructure would be around $12 million to $14 million, he said, adding it is all funded privately — no public funds are being spent toward the endeavor.
“True fiber has a minimum speed of 1G,” he said. “We also have options for 2G and 5G. Commercial speeds will be 2G, 5G and 10G — that’s our internet side.”
He said over that same fiber they’ll be providing video services, much like any other cable television, there will be package options, like basic, plus, etc.
“We partner with the city with an actual franchise agreement,” Stoops said. “Other companies potentially would just bring fiber and offer high-speed internet — and the city gets no revenue out of that.”
He said with the cable television franchise and video services that Bluepeak offers, 5 percent of that revenue does go back to the city.
“We envision this as a 30- to 40-year investment in Shawnee, as well as the state of Oklahoma,” he said. “We really believe true fiber enhances any distance learning, telehealth, remote workers, etc.” he said.
Once this infrastructure is in place here, Stoops said Shawnee’s technology and infrastructure will look like New York, LA and Chicago.
“You will be able to pursue Hollywood movie production if you like and it would look like they were sitting in LA,” he said. “Wall Street traders would have the ability to move here and trade, from a technology perspective.”
Stoops said his biggest fear is when his company puts technology like this in a lot of communities, but it’s not grasped and used to its full capabilities.
“We hope to capture between 80- to 90-percent of all the rooftops, houses and businesses as we can in the first round — the first phase of construction,” he said.
Key items of the agreement include:
• 10-year agreement term
• 5-percent franchise fee for eligible services (pursuant to state law that does not currently include internet services)
• Construction build-out requirements: 50-percent build-out in two years, 90-percent build-out in three years
Stoops said neighborhoods will go online as they are completed; they wouldn’t have to wait until the entire project (estimated at three years) is finished.
As an anchor market, Stoops also said Shawnee will get a storefront — hopefully in the downtown area — that will employ up to 12-15 people.
For more information, visit www.mybluepeak. com.
Watch for updates.
For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at email@example.com.