Hamilton has offered broadband services for some businesses during a beta test, but now is opening it up to any business in the city.
City Council on Wednesday approved legislation that will implement a permanent offering for broadband services.
“The intent is to provide local, reliable, affordable utilities to our customers and to provide those at a level of service that’s requested by our community,” said Edwin Porter, Hamilton’s executive director of Infrastructure.
The program is working with and through Southwest Ohio Computer Association to receive broadband services and distribute those services to Hamilton’s business customers. Broadband services would be transferred to the city’s existing fiber system, which was established in 2004.
New customers must pay $1.32 per foot to extend the fiber service from the closest available Hamilton fiber connection point to the point of use at their business, Porter said. Customers will also pay for the cost of equipment necessary, which the initial equipment is $5 per month.
There are five varying levels of broadband connection speeds, which are catered to businesses. Speeds range from 50 Mbps (megabytes per second) at $100 per month base rate to 1,000 Mbps at $500 per month base rate.
Existing Hamilton broadband customers are HamiltonMill, CDA, 80 Acres Farms, Tedia, iMFLUX, Butler County RTA, DaranaHybrid, Wildfire Hygge Goods, and Saica.
The broadband service will be a line item on the business customer’s utility bill.
Porter said there was no consideration at this time of offering broadband services for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or residential usages.
The broadband utility is not just an asset the city is offering its business community, but it’s another tool in the economic development toolbox.
“We continue to believe that Hamilton’s utilities are a critical differentiator in the site selection process (for new or relocating businesses),” said Hamilton Economic Development Director Jody Gunderson.
The fiber optic infrastructure ensures Hamilton is “shovel ready” “and positioned to attract and retain companies,” he said.
“Business is becoming more and more reliant on communication infrastructure and Hamilton is prepared to deliver the broadband speeds that have become essential for national and international commerce,” Gunderson said.
In 2015, the city entered into a five-year pilot program to provide broadband services to business customers with CenterGrid. Last November, the city started the beta test as CenterGrid ceased providing broadband services, but all equipment was transferred to the city of Hamilton. All customers who received broadband services from CenterGrid started receiving those services from the city.
Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller acknowledged he’s “not real smart” about the broadband technology, but said, “I’m smart enough to know how important this is to our city and our commercial customers. I think it’s going to be another utility we’re all going to be very, very proud of.”
BROADBAND BUSINESS RATES
Here are the speeds and monthly costs businesses would pay the city of Hamilton for broadband services, according to the city:
50 Mbps (megabytes per second): $100 per month base rate
100 Mbps: $175 per month base rate
200 Mbps: $225 per month base rate
500 Mbps: $350 per month base rate
1,000 Mbps: $500 per month base rate