Verizon looking to build fiber network for Mission businesses and city hall

Photo credit Mike Mozart. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Mission’s businesses and local government may be getting access to a new fiber network soon.

MCImetro Access Transmission Services Corporation — doing business as Verizon Access Transmission Services — wants to install and operate the new telecommunications system and offer those fiber network services to small and medium-size businesses and government customers, according to Mission finance and administration records. At this time, the offer doesn’t extend to residential customers.

The finance and administration committee, comprised of Mission council members, agreed Wednesday evening to place an ordinance for the franchise agreement on the council’s consent agenda for the July 18 council meeting. The agreement also requires a right-of-way permit.

MCImetro/Verizon is only planning to only deploy fiber to existing structures above ground — such as cell towers, buildings, water towers, utility poles, parking garages. That means it won’t build new cell towers, small cells, antennas or other wireless facilities.

As part of the 10-year agreement, Mission would collect a franchise fee of 5 percent of gross receipts. The agreement may be renewed for two additional two-year terms, according to city records.

If council approves the ordinance agreement, MCImetro/Verizon will then be able to apply for a right-of-way permit to begin installation.

Council member Kristin Inman brought up concerns that state law could allow companies like Verizon to install cell towers and right of ways in residents’ front yards.

“I just want to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” she said at the finance and administration meeting.

John Belger, Mission public works director, said he doesn’t think that will happen in this agreement.

“It sounds like their intent is focused more on business and government, so the chances of getting their yard cut up will kind of be slim,” Belger told Inman, adding that his staff will work to minimize the impact and keep businesses informed on installation and the potential disruption.

City administrator Laura Smith said it’s possible that Mission is “just a community they pass through” as the companies work to build out fiber networks for area businesses in neighboring cities.