California- Riverside County (RIVCO) is searching for participants that are interested in building a gigabit network. Responses are due Aug. 15 and a telecommunications partner or partners will be selected in the fall to build out the gigabit fiber network. The RIVCOconnect Broadband Initiative, a $2 billion to $4 billion public-private partnership (P3) with the goal of building a gigabit fiber network, represents the first time that a regional P3 has worked to install fiber optic infrastructure on such a large scale with multiple local governments in the United States. This project does not depend on taxpayer dollars and cities in Riverside County are not seeking to own or operate the fiber network. Instead, RIVCOconnect is designed to make it possible for the private sector to distribute the network.
Riverside County’s 7,200 square miles contain nearly one million homes, apartments, businesses and institutions that need high-speed internet access. The county, its 28 cities, and all participating tribal nations have signed on to a common resolution to support the effort. Each entity has agreed to streamline and expedite often time-consuming permitting processes in order to speed the process along. Among the ideas to facilitate the process are “dig-once” policies that allow fiber conduits to be installed whenever a roadway is opened for construction, as well as coordinating activities countywide through a single point of contact. These ideas and others could help eliminate hurdles that would amount to as much as 30 percent of construction costs, potentially saving hundreds of millions of dollars on the project.