Shawnee adding six miles of fiber for network buildout

Shawnee is growing its fiber optic network to include six miles of underground and aerial fiber west of I-435.

Shawnee is adding six more miles of fiber as part of its ongoing efforts to build out its fiber optic network.

The city’s goal is to to provide high-speed connections to city facilities and traffic infrastructure, according to an Oct. 22 city memo by Mel Bunting, director of information technology for the city. This network will also provide a regional backbone that connects Shawnee with Johnson County and neighboring cities, he added in the memo.

Shawnee plans to expand the new fiber west of Interstate 435, which will connect fire stations 73 and 74, traffic signals and a potential community center.

The Shawnee council approved in a 5-1 vote hiring K&W Underground to install the six miles of aerial and buried fiber that includes a two-inch conduit and fiber at a cost of $238,948. Councilmember Mike Kemmling cast the single dissenting vote. Councilmember Mickey Sandifer was absent. There was neither discussion from the council nor any public comment before the vote.

Building out Shawnee’s fiber optic network is part of the city’s five-year capital improvement plan from 2019 to 2024. As such, the new fiber project is a budgeted item, including $179,000 in the city’s equipment and facility reserve fund for 2018 as well as $134,000 in 2019.

The council in June approved contracting with Westar Wireline to attach fiber onto Westar utility power poles, according to the city memo.

“As a result, staff has identified approximately six miles of aerial and underground fiber that will allow us to build out our fiber backbone and connect to our western facilities and traffic signals,” Bunting wrote. “A combination of aerial and buried fiber has been designed to reduce cost associated with deploying fiber.”