Axcess Ontario, the public-benefit corporation that manages the 200-plus-mile fiber ring in Ontario County, has signed a master agreement with Iberdrola USA, enabling the energy company’s Rochester Gas & Electric utility to enhance communications among 10 of its facilities in Ontario County.
As part of the pact, Iberdrola will lease Axcess Ontario’s fiber for the next 20 years.
“This investment will allow Iberdrola to provide improved services to businesses and residents throughout the community,” said Dan Hucko, director of media relations at Iberdrola USA, in a statement.
“The agreement also allows our company to hold the line on costs. If we did not have access to the fiber ring, we would either have to invest in the infrastructure ourselves, increasing our capital costs, or see our monthly telecommunications costs rise dramatically,” said Hucko.
Officials with Axcess Ontario said that the Ontario County fiber ring was officially completed last month, on time, under budget, and with no federal or state funding. Initial budget expectations were $7.5 million, but the ring’s final costs are more in the $5.5 million range, saving roughly $2 million.
Axcess Ontario CEO Ed Hemminger said the agreement with Iberdrola could pave the way for expansion of the fiber ring.
“The agreement with Iberdrola is a boon to Axcess Ontario,” Hemminger said.
“The company’s investment in us can, in turn, be reinvested into our community and move us closer to our ultimate goal — fiber-to-the-home for residents,” he added.
Axcess Ontario officials said that the Ontario County fiber ring is the epitome of 21st century public infrastructure. Like its mid-century counterpart, the New York State Thruway, the fiber ring paves the way for economic growth.
According to company officials, the ring itself is comprised of dark fiber, provides no services, and therefore does not compete with private-sector telecom and broadband companies. Instead, telecom and broadband companies sign master agreements with Axcess Ontario to use the fiber ring to provide services at competitive rates.
To date, the organization has signed master agreements with eight telecom and broadband companies, including Finger Lakes Technologies Group, national broadband provider tw telecom (News - Alert), and Verizon Wireless.
Axcess Ontario is also working to lure a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service provider so that county residents can have access to faster and less expensive broadband, similar to what’s available to county-based businesses, institutions and municipalities today.
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Edited by Stefanie Mosca