The City of Oxnard, California recently selected a private broadband consulting agency to assist in creating a Fiber Master Plan for developing a citywide high-speed fiber optic network. The city announced a request for proposal for a Fiber Master Plan in 2017 after leadership realized that access to affordable and reliable citywide high-speed fiber-optic broadband would be crucial to economic development. The new plan will bring gigabit-speed internet to the city of 208,000 and help achieve the city’s goal of becoming a “Tech” city.
Situated along the coast of southern California, about an hour northwest of Los Angles, Oxnard is the largest city in Ventura County. They're about 35 miles south of Santa Barbara and home to a thriving international port, the Port of Hueneme, which travels between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other Pacific Rim communities. The community is known as the largest strawberry producer and as a center for manufacturing.
The existing 35-mile fiber-optic network in Oxnard is primarily used to connect traffic signals and city facilities and presents only limited opportunities for other community purposes. The new plan will inventory the city’s current assets and create a roadmap for building a broadband network that will fill in the gaps.
One of the main goals of the plan is to turn Oxnard into a “tech city.” A city’s ability to compete increasingly depends on the technologies it offers. The latest technology developments, including Smart City initiatives, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, demand high-powered connections from both home and office. Citywide fiber-optic will enable Oxnard to deploy these new apps, such as public Wi-Fi, and compete with neighboring communities.
A Lasting Impact
Besides economic growth, the city hopes that the the new fiber-optic network will also produce educational and other social benefits. Additionally, the network is expected to generate a return on investment and eventually contribute to the city’s general fund.
Oxnard is just one of many cities realizing that investing in high-speed internet is an essential investment for future growth. Communities that develop a Master Plan typically are able to develop a schedule for deployment and establish concrete goals along the way to better connectivity. Utilizing a Fiber Master Plan or Strategic Broadband Plan makes the installation process smoother for cities by defining standards and coordinating the construction with other city projects, making the process more efficient and cost-effective. A Master Plan also helps maintain transparency and keep citizens engaged in the process as a city invests in infrastructure. Businesses that are already established in the community or that are considering relocating to a community that has developed a Master Plan also have access to a more accurate time line. Mayor Flynn said about the new Fiber Master Plan:
“This is a crucial pathway to economic development and the ability to attract advanced businesses that offer high-paying jobs in the City of Oxnard. Access to high-speed Internet and data networks will also give existing businesses the tools they need to expand.”