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Arlington Expanding Fiber Network to Businesses

by Ethan Rothstein — April 2, 2014 at 10:00 am 1,363 0

Fiber optic lines installed throughout ArlingtonArlington County has announced that it is expanding ConnectArlington, its high-speed fiber optic program that connects county government and school buildings, and making it available to Arlington businesses.

The county’s unused fiber optic capacity, or “dark fiber,” will provide not only significantly faster data speeds for businesses — the county says the speed is “unprecedented” — but also a more secure connection that can be used between contractors and federal agencies like the Pentagon.

Officials expect the program to provide an economic boost to the county.

“Arlington will be the only place for businesses to receive this level of service and security and will be the only place offering such dedicated lines to the nation’s top defense and research organizations,” Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said in a press release. “The opportunities ConnectArlington gives Arlington businesses are endless; we anticipate this game-changing infrastructure will attract jobs and innovative investments to our community.”

When ConnectArlington was installed for county businesses and services in 2012, the county said it will improve traffic management, public transportation and 911 response time.

Companies will be able to lease the dark fiber over the next year as Arlington works with a third-party consultant to make “the service easily available,” according to the press release. The full rollout is expected to be complete by early 2015.

Being able to use the county’s existing fiber capacity will provide businesses with connectivity that would otherwise have been prohibitively expensive and/or logistically complicated to get on their own.

The full press release, after the jump.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington has announced the expansion of its wildly successful ConnectArlington program. Originally designed to bring high-speed fiber connectivity to County government, school and community buildings, this next phase of the project brings Arlington businesses the opportunity to connect at speeds infinitely faster than currently available anywhere in the Capital region. Additionally, ConnectArlington now provides direct, dedicated dark fiber with the highest levels of security to provide unprecedented opportunities for secure collaboration with the nation’s top defense and research agencies, including the Pentagon. This connectivity brings Arlington’s technology infrastructure to the forefront of not only the region, but the entire country.

“Arlington will be the only place for businesses to receive this level of service and security and will be the only place offering such dedicated lines to the nation’s top defense and research organizations,” said Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “The opportunities ConnectArlington gives Arlington businesses are endless; we anticipate this game-changing infrastructure will attract jobs and innovative investments to our community.”

As the service rolls out over the next year, Arlington will work with a third-party consultant to manage the leasing of the dark fiber to multiple service providers, which will ensure the service is easily available. Additionally, the County will work directly with property owners and various businesses to ensure they have the opportunity for this high-speed and secure fiber line via direct access to buildings. Arlington universities, research centers, government buildings and Federal agencies will also be connected – providing additional collaboration opportunities at unprecedented levels of speed and security.

“World class cities are not only creating fiber networks to meet their own enterprise needs, but are also making dark fiber available to high technology companies to keep or attract these companies to their communities,” said Professor Joseph Pelton, Chair of the Arlington County IT Advisory Commission. “With this level of service, ConnectArlington will be the best in the nation.” Added Arlington Economic Development Commission Chair Sally Duran, “This program of leasing dark fiber to local businesses sets Arlington apart from neighboring communities as well as nationally and globally.”

ConnectArlington was originally developed by Arlington County Government to connect all of the County’s facilities and the public school system together using high-speed broad band technology through the use of underground dark (dedicated) fiber. At that time, Arlington had the foresight to recognize the need for additional resources and technological capability in the future, therefore installing additional conduits in the ground to enable the County to expand its use of dark fiber. The scenario is much like Arlington’s foresight to run transit through its major corridors to prepare for and enhance our smart growth development.

“Providing this connectivity is the next phase of our smart growth strategy,” said Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan. “We are moving to meet the current and future needs of our business community, to provide for our community’s long-term sustainability.”

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