The Institutional Network (I-Net)
The cable franchises provide for communication network assets and infrastructure as part of the public benefit obligations. Consequently, the MHCRC facilitates partnerships, pursues network assets under the franchise and participates in network planning for the Institutional Network (I-Net), an advanced, fiber based communications network connecting government, educational and community institutions that is capable of carrying video, data and voice applications.
The I-Net represents over $6 million in initial network capital assets with approximately $4 million in additional funding for network upgrades through 2010. The I-Net currently has fiber connectivity to over 270 public facilities and serves over 20 public agencies throughout Multnomah County (including the Cities of Fairview, Gresham, Portland, Troutdale, Wood Village, the County, libraries, K-12 schools, community colleges, universities, public access providers, courts, Tri-Met and Metro – referred to as “I-Net Stakeholders”).
The cable company, under the franchise agreements, is obligated to provide network facilities, infrastructure, transport operations and maintenance for the I-Net.
From the Commission:
“In our role as advisors to local governments on cable and telecommunications matters, we work closely with industry. Here in Multnomah County we have joined in a partnership with Comcast to construct and deploy a high-speed community network that connects all schools, libraries and local government buildings. Our agreement with Comcast provides an interconnection of this local network with Portland’s Integrated Regional Network Enterprise (IRNE). By interconnecting the public and private networks we saved taxpayer dollars. Instead of requiring Comcast to build a loop connecting the City of Portland’s downtown buildings, the City paid for that portion. This allows our limited funds to reach more facilities throughout the County. Our networks allow schools and local governments (both of which are under extreme pressure to reduce costs) to hold the line on costs while improving services by increasing bandwidth.”