Superior officials have a plan for developing an open-access fiber optic network, and soon they hope to drill down on the details.

The communications and information technology committee gave its support on Monday, Nov. 1, to advertising a request for proposals for project management services for Connect Superior.

The firm or group that is ultimately selected will be responsible for infrastructure planning; financial consulting; regulatory and compliance advice; design and engineering review; and construction management. The minimum requirements for the network would include a fiber optic network that would provide 1 gigabit per second upload and download speeds with the ability to go to 10 Gbps or greater in the future.

“A group is a wise choice rather than going with a person,” said committee member Dave Dusek.

Going with a group would avoid reinventing the wheel if the individual went to work elsewhere, he said.

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Utilizing the broadband plan, Superior City Council President Tylor Elm said information technology professionals would work with the city’s contract analyst, Jane Darwin, to develop the request for proposals.

“Now our goal is to get someone in here who has worked on this before or is in the field to make a roadmap, get some firm costs on what the next steps are,” said Dan Shea, Superior’s information technology director.

Darwin said the city will advertise the request for proposals and send it out to firms that are known to do this kind of work.

“We’ll probably have a little bit longer advertising period than some of our normal projects,” Darwin said. “We want to give it some time.”

A pre-proposal conference will be held so interested firms can get their questions answered.

Normally, requests for proposals are handled administratively, Shea said, but because the Connect Superior proposal is somewhat unique compared to other proposals the city seeks, it was presented to the committee to get input from more people. Most members of the committee are information technology professionals.

The committee made no changes to the proposed RFP, but did lend its support to advertising it.

Under the city’s plan, users of the network would pay for installation and maintenance of the fiber optic network and internet service providers would compete for customers over the city’s network.

According to the city’s Broadband Master Plan, developed by Utah-based EntryPoint Networks, those costs could range from $46.73 to $55.05 per month for installation, maintenance and ISP services depending on how the network is constructed and how many people participate in the network.

It wasn’t clear Monday when officials would begin advertising the RFP, but Darwin said it would likely be in January so it won’t be overlooked during the rush of the holiday season.

“As I look at the national news, and I know that moneys are included in the infrastructure proposal, so I’m excited that we have started this path as far as broadband,” said Councilor Ruth Ludwig. “We’ll be well on our way to apply for those funds.”