One hundred miles of unused broadband fiber owned by Columbia County, GA, will be leased by Tower Cloud Inc. and connected to major networks. The $3.7 million deal lasts for an initial period of five years and is renewable for three more optional five-year terms for a potential total lease period of 20 years.
Columbia County is adjacent to the South Carolina state line and part of the Augusta (News - Alert), GA, metropolitan area. An overwhelming majority of county residents live in unincorporated areas.
The county grew rapidly in the 2000-2010 decade, increasing its population by 39 percent. By comparison, adjacent Richmond County (where Augusta is located) saw relatively no growth during the same period.
According to the U.S. Census website, growth in Columbia County continues past the last 2010 census. Estimated growth between April 2010 and July 2012 is 6.1 percent, increasing the county’s population from 124,000 to 131,000.
St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Tower Cloud provides telecommunications services for wireless carriers with networks in three states in the South. It agreed to provide infrastructure enhancements as part of the deal, connecting a 1GB Ethernet line from Augusta to a major Atlanta-based telecom hub and installing over one mile of conduit along a major road in the area to facilitate future installations of fiber optic cable.
The lease appears to be a win-win deal for the county and Tower Cloud. It allows the county to attract more business and generate revenue from a previously idle resource. It also connects the county with other heavily-used networks.
Tower Cloud can close its fiber optic ring in the area and offer more capacity for its telecom clients. With the fast population growth in Columbia County, the lease helps service providers meet an inevitable demand for more broadband in the area.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson