More on the Minneapolis-USIW partnership

Questions still bubble about Minneapolis’ public-private partnership with US Internet Wireless (USIW) to build and operate its 59-square mile citywide wireless network.Questions still bubble about Minneapolis’ public-private partnership with US Internet Wireless (USIW) to build and operate its 59-square mile citywide wireless network.

The Minneapolis Downtown Journal tackled a few this week. But their report sheds little more light on the financial terms of the partnership than what we already know from the Term Sheet Deputy City CIO Bill Beck sent to the city council in August.

The Journal discusses the city’s up-front payment of $2.2 million to USIW and its annual payment of $1.25 million over the 10-year contract and includes information from city officials that the city will recoup those amounts from what it currently spends on other connectivity charges. The Terms Sheet, however, actually said the annual payment would be “at least” $1.25 million per year and some estimates, including those left in comments on MuniWireless, fear the actual cost will be higher.

The Journal report also includes this on the city’s buildout of its fiber optic network to serve as the backbone of the wireless network:

James Farstad, a technical consultant who has been working with the city on its wireless network plan, said right now the city is spending about $300,000 to expand some of the fiber optics it owns. The city does not have the money right now to pay for millions of dollars in fiber optic improvements, and Farstad said that figure was based on an ideal outlook on where the city wants to go in the future.

“We have to pace ourselves and work within budgets,” Farstad said.

But will this year’s planned improvements be enough to provide sufficient backhaul for the service in time for its citywide launch in November. Any insights? Comments?

UPDATE: Contract documents are now posted on Peter Fleck’s site. Becca’s link below does not work anymore.

Posted by Carol Ellison

Comments

  1. The full contract can be found here:

    http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/bis/scope.asp

  2. Becca’s link is broken. Minneapolis has taken the contract off its site. (Maybe because of Becca’s link?)

    I grabbed a copy and linked from my home page along with links the term sheet and two versions of the community benefits agreement recommendations.

    Peter