Some city officials are hoping a $2.5 million investment now will bring more development to Jacksonville while also providing high-speed internet service to every home.
City Council is in talks with the Springfield-based service provider i3 Broadband about providing fiber optic cables.
The company has proposed providing high-speed internet connections to every residence and business in Jacksonville, but the city will have to buy into the project.
Council members are still negotiating the price of the buy-in, Special Studies Committee Chairman Steve Warmowski said. The initial amount suggested was $2.5 million. If the city accepts i3 Broadband’s proposal, Warmowski said the project could start this year and be finished by the end of 2021.
“The most important thing about this project is that [it] would provide internet for every single household in the city,” Warmowski said. “It would be fast enough internet to encourage economic development.”
Many communities have pointed to having a robust internet backbone as the key to attracting future development, especially tech businesses.
Warmowski said the council consensus seems to be to continue negotiating with i3 rather than having the city invest in building its own fiber optic network.
Other communities might also have the opportunity to “tap into” the network.
Warmowski said he hopes South Jacksonville can be worked into the project — which could reduce the amount the city needs to pay.
If the city and i3 agree to a deal, video gaming receipts and revenue from the cannabis tax were discussed as sources of funding for the project.
Members of the committee were optimistic about the progress they had made so far.
Alderman Brandon Adams said the city could benefit from getting a consultant to help wade through the proposal and look at competing offers.
Warmowski said i3 Broadband’s proposal will be brought up in an upcoming City Council meeting.
Website of source