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YoCo Fiber Initiative Opens Bids for Design, Engineering and Construction

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Issued by: The County of York
Press Contact: Ted Czech, 717-891-8548

 

York, PA – (December 15, 2021) – Today, the York County Commissioners unanimously approved issuance of a Request for Information (RFI) from qualified firms interested in bidding on the design, engineering, and construction of approximately 144-miles of middle mile broadband fiber infrastructure as part of the YoCo Fiber initiative. The RFI is posted publicly here.

The vote is an integral step in expanding broadband fiber infrastructure throughout southern York County, generally bounded from Route 30 south to the Maryland state line, from Hanover to the Susquehanna River. This targeted region encompasses more than 47,000 households and at least 4,100 businesses, many of which are located in portions of York County where an estimated 41 to 71 percent of households lack high-speed internet access.

The selected firm will design and engineer the network and evaluate the best possible scenarios to deploy fiber infrastructure, including aerial, utility poles, underground easements, and county or other publicly-owned infrastructure. This phase will also support the requisite permitting necessary for future development and the construction of the physical fiber infrastructure. The cost incurred by this work will be paid for with a portion of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which the Commissioners previously allocated for this purpose.

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“This is an exciting and ambitious step forward to bridge the digital divide in York County, and comes on the heels of other recent actions we have taken to boldly implement a plan to provide greater access and connectivity to our York Countians,” said Julie Wheeler, York County President Commissioner.

In 2020, York County government conducted a countywide broadband connectivity study that outlined the steps forward to create a 333-mile countywide YoCo Fiber middle mile fiber network. As a result of that assessment, the county embarked on the construction of a middle mile pilot project, which included the installation of approximately 16 miles of broadband fiber under the York County Heritage Rail Trail, from York City to New Freedom, with two wireless internet antennae active and broadcasting a free wireless Internet signal for trail users and nearby businesses and residents. That 16-mile pilot project will eventually connect to the additional 144 miles of fiber infrastructure to be constructed under the current project.

YoCo Fiber is intended to be a public-private partnership that entices private internet providers into underserved parts of the county. Upon build-out of this initial phase of the middle mile network, it is anticipated that the county will solicit a third party, private operator to extend last mile service to residences, businesses, and other potential fiber users.

The YoCo Fiber initiative has been undertaken by York County government, in partnership with the York County Economic Alliance and the YoCo Fiber Broadband Task Force. To further support this work, YoCo Fiber launched a demand aggregation survey to document existing internet access, speeds, and prices, as well as future demand. That questionnaire, along with additional information, is available at YoCoFiber.com.

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