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(UPDATE) City of Decatur agrees to pay Comcast $12,500 per month


(UPDATE) City of Decatur agrees to pay Comcast $12,500 per month

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Decatur City Hall


The items listed in this story were approved at the May 20 City Commission meeting. Here is our earlier story … 

The city of Decatur and Comcast have reached an agreement to resolve a dispute over the use of Decatur’s fiber optics network.

During the May 20 City Commission meeting, commissioners will be asked to approve an interim network services agreement with the company that would result in the city paying Comcast $12,500 per month for two years.

The May 20 regular meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at City Hall, located at 509 North McDonough Street. All meetings are open to the public.

At its last meeting, commissioners awarded a contract worth almost $2 million to a Duluth-based company to install a new citywide fiber optic network.

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City leaders approved the contract amid an ongoing dispute with Comcast, the company that built the city’s current network. The company submitted a proposal to construct the new network but wasn’t selected. City Manager Andrea Arnold recommended awarding the $1.99 million contract to Network Cabling Infrastructures, Inc. The network will also serve City Schools of Decatur. The school system has agreed to kick in $653,500.

Work on the city’s new network will start in June and should be completed in a 12 to 14 months.

In 1998 and 1999 the city entered into an agreement with MediaOne, which later became Comcast, to regulate how the company uses the city’s rights of way, Arnold said. As part of the agreement, the company agreed to construct a fiber network, called an Institutional Network (I-Net), connecting all the city’s buildings.

That franchise agreement expired in 2009. In October 2018, the city issued a request for qualifications to build a new fiber network. Comcast provided emails going back to 2009 showing that Comcast did try to negotiate a new arrangement with the city. The company contends it let the city enjoy free use of the network for 10 years.

The company gave the city a May 8 deadline to resolve the issue.

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According to a memo from Arnold to the commission about the interim network services agreement, the $12,500 monthly rate Comcast quoted is less than what it originally intended to charge the city.

“The advantages of this service include that no build-out is necessary unlike the other options, reliability of the network since it is buried fiber, and no reduction in bandwidth or negative impact on the end-user experience which also could not be guaranteed with other options,” Arnold’s memo says. “The term of the agreement will allow for any unanticipated delays in the construction of the City’s new network and will provide ample time for testing and transition to the new network.”

In other business, the commission will consider awarding a $40,000 contract to Georgia Safe Sidewalks for repairing sidewalks on East Lake Drive from East Parkwood Road to Pharr Road and Oakview Road from 2nd Avenue to South McDonough Street. Commissioners also will consider a $40,700 agreement with CSX for engineering services related to the Railroad Crossing Improvement project at Atlanta Avenue.

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