By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Bloomsdale will wait and see when it comes to fibre optic cables.
After listening to proposal by Chris and Nate Govero of Lightwave Communications of Festus at its Aug. 10 meeting, the Bloomsdale Board of Aldermen opted to take a wait and see approach to the issue.
Govero approached the board about the possibility of running the buried cables along city waterlines and streets, to provide better broadband internet coverage to the city.
With the city’s $1.9 million waterline replacement project gearing up, however, the city officials were leery about committing to the project right away.
“We need to just hold hands and take it slow,” Ward 2 Alderman Brandon Shortt said.
Chris Govero said the company serves many clients in Jefferson County and some in and around Bloomsdale.
“We provide a lot of the internet to underserved areas,” Chris Govero told the board. “We believe Bloomsdale is an underserved area.
“What we’re proposing is to come in here and lay out fibre optic cable to all the homes in the city.”
Mayor Paul Monia interrupted him, asking if someone will be available 365 days a year to locate the cables when work needs to be done.
Govero said they are partners with Missouri Dig Rite, a service provided by the Missouri Public Service Commission. Anyone needing to dig can call and immediately get location of all buried lines.
Monia explained his concern.
“Underground utilities and fibre optics are two words I’m not a fan of,” he said. “Because all of our utilities are underground and at a moment’s notice, in 11 miles of water lines here, we can have an issue.”
Govero said they are looking at doing “a mixture of hybrid wireless and also fibre optic, mostly underground.”
He said he had looked over a map of the city’s water main system and believes the cable could run along the side of the water mains.
“Basically, what we’re asking for is the necessary steps to move forward,” he said, “so we can be able in the coming months to start the installation of fibre optics along city right of ways.”
Monia asked city clerk Lynnette Randoll if she had contacted the city attorney, Mark Bishop, to get his input on the liability issue. Randoll said Bishop told her he would have to look into the matter.
“This is kind of new,” Randoll said.
“Yes, this is completely new to me,” Monia said. “We need to research this so we know where we’re at.”
The cable would go with the city’s utility corridor, where one exists.
Monia said he wasn’t sure if there would be utility corridors with city easements everywhere Lightwave would want to go. He asked what they would do where one does not exist.
Govero said they would then run the cable along city streets. In answer to Monia’s questions, he said they usually use a 10-foot easement and bury the lines about 30 inches deep.
Govero also said they were looking into the option of running some of their cables on 25-foot utility poles – either installing their own or seeking permission to use Citizens Electric Corporation poles.
Ward 1 Alderwoman Monica Rozier asked just what the benefits would be for city residents.
Govero said right now they just have one major provider.
“We want to completely blanket the city,” he said. “Because right now we can’t get access to every house and we want to be able to offer more services to more houses.”
He made the pitch that top internet speed could be offered to Bloomsdale residents.
“We’re going to be able to offer some of the best speeds available in the county over this fibre optic internet,” he said. “So, we’re really trying to present some of the new, most futuristic internet available to almost every resident here.”
Monia had them go over the procedure on how things would be handled if the cable were hit by city workers or hired contractors. He said he feared a few instances of that could bankrupt the city if they would be liable for the cable,
“A lot of times it would just be time and materials,” Govero said. “It wouldn’t be any astronomical amount. We’re a small company and we want to work with you. We don’t want to upset the city or upset the residents.”
He expressed confidence that they would be able to work well with the city.