Photo of wiring

The Houston City Council approved fiber and equipment purchases Monday to launch a previously approved high-speed internet project.

Members authorized a $240,000 initial payment for a five-mile fiber loop and operational equipment that will be housed at the Houston Storm Shelter at First and Pine streets. The city is acting with the guidance of an Oklahoma-based company, ACRS Telecommunications Consulting and Engineering Services, which was hired in December to provide detailed engineering services under a contract that was not to exceed $350,000.

Houston City Administrator Scott Avery said the total cost is estimated to be about $1.8 million, but will be determined when bids for the build-out are received. Several firms have already expressed an interest on the construction, he said.

The council’s interest in the project is to deploy a high-speed system not currently available in the community, and provide a marketing tool to attract residents and businesses. The fiber-to-the-home system has commitments from some big users, including the Houston School District and Texas County Memorial Hospital, Avery said. From the loop approved this week, the city will build infrastructure to individual users. No pricing has been publicly announced. Avery said it is hoped that once operational and profitable, the city will be able to lower its initial pricing.

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