Spring 2023

  • Published 2023-03-06

Holland BPW prepares for construction. This includes selecting vendors and furthering the design of the network.

On August 2, 2022, the people of Holland voted to make a community-investment in a high-speed fiber optic broadband network that will be available to every address in the city. Holland BPW will build and manage the broadband infrastructure, adding onto the backbone fiber network that the utility began creating 30 years ago.

In the months following the vote, there has been a lot of activity behind the scenes to ensure a successful city-wide fiber build project. The first step was to bring on an owner’s engineer. An owner’s engineer is key to managing large projects like this one. They are dedicated advocates to the project owner, helping to manage the vast details of the project. Holland BPW selected CTC, a firm whose expertise is community broadband and who knows our network well because they performed preliminary studies for the Downtown Shared Gig pilot as well as the larger city wide fiber analysis.

“Right now, we are digging deep into the fine points of our current infrastructure and making preliminary decisions that keep the project moving forward.” With anticipated lead times for some materials being 12 months, Holland BPW is in the process of bidding and ordering some construction supplies now. ”Our goal is to avoid delays on this project as much as possible,” said Ted Siler, Utility Services Director.

“People often ask ‘will the fiber run overhead or underground,’ mentioned Siler. There is a lot of detail involved in determining the best route and method to use for cabling each part of the city. There are places where underground is most appropriate and others where overhead is the best option. Knowing the lay of the land and the locations, heights, current attachments, and condition of every BPW utility pole is necessary. One of our current tasks is a make-ready pole analysis to get a complete picture of all Holland BPW’s utility poles. This will show us what path to take, leading to the design of how many phases or nodes will be created, and in what order.

The first service node is expected to go live during the summer of 2024. Final phases should be completed by 2026.