Bluepeak’s $12 Million Internet Expansion Project Takes Off – Shawnee News-Star

Vicky O. Misa The Shawnee News-Star vicky.misa@news-star.com

A Groundbreaking Ceremony Tuesday morning officially kicked off Bluepeak’s plan to build a new cable system in Shawnee.

At an event at Vision Bank, Bluepeak leaders celebrated the beginning of their efforts to build a high-speed fiber optic network intended to serve more than 16,000 homes and businesses in the community.

A meet-and-greet was also offered that afternoon at the Gordon Cooper Technology Center to educate residents about the plan.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Shawnee to build a next-generation fiber-to-home network,” said Bluepeak CEO Rich Fish.

With Bluepeak’s advanced fiber connection, a company press release states that residential customers can get up to 5 gigabits of symmetric bandwidth and businesses can get up to 10 gigabits and more of symmetric bandwidth.

“High-speed internet is vital to attracting new residents and businesses to our area,” said Representative Dell Curbs. “As our community grows, so does our need for high-quality options and I’m excited to welcome Bluepeak to Shawnee as one of those options.”

Background

In January, Shawnee City Commissioners passed an ordinance granting Bluepeak the non-exclusive license to build and operate a cable system.

Assistant city manager Jacob Foos said that while most franchise agreements are exclusive and require a vote of the people, Oklahoma state law requires cable television systems to be approved through non-exclusive agreements.

In January, Desi Stoops, vice president of market development at Bluepeak, said total investment in the state is estimated at $250 million to $300 million.

In Shawnee, infrastructure investment would be about $12 million to $14 million, he said, adding that it’s all privately funded — no public funds are being spent on the endeavor.

“True fiber has a minimum speed of 1G,” he said. “We also have options for 2G and 5G. Commercial speeds will be 2G, 5G and 10G – that’s our internet side.”

He said they will provide video services over the same fiber as any other cable TV, there will be package options such as basic, plus, etc.

“We’re working with the city with an actual franchise agreement,” Stoops says. “Other companies might just bring fiber and provide high-speed internet – and the city isn’t getting any revenue from that.”

He said that with the cable TV franchise and video services Bluepeak offers, 5 percent of that revenue goes back to the city.

“We see this as a 30 to 40 year investment in Shawnee, as well as the state of Oklahoma,” he said. “We truly believe that real fiber will enhance any distance learning, telecare, homeworking, etc.” he said.

Once this infrastructure is in place, Stoops said Shawnee’s technology and infrastructure will look like New York, LA and Chicago.

“You can continue the production of Hollywood movies if you want and it would look like they were in LA,” he said. “Wall Street traders would have the opportunity to move here and trade, from a technology perspective.”

Stoops said his biggest fear is when his company puts technology like this in many communities, but it is not understood and used to its full potential.

“We hope to capture between 80 and 90 percent of all roofs, homes and businesses in the first round — the first phase of construction,” he said.

The key points of the agreement include:

• Term of agreement of 10 years

• 5 percent franchise fee for eligible services (under state law that currently does not include Internet services)

• Construction expansion requirements: 50 percent expansion in two years, 90 percent expansion in three years

Stoops said neighborhoods will go online as soon as they’re ready; they wouldn’t have to wait for the entire project (estimated at three years) to be completed.

Shop window is coming

As an anchor market, Stoops also said Shawnee will have a storefront — hopefully downtown — that will employ up to 12-15 people.

For more information, visit www.mybluepeak. com.

Watch for updates.

For story ideas, questions, or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.

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