Fiber-Optic Network Advances

The city moved a step closer this week to a major expansion of its fiber-optic cable network, a project that would provide high-speed telecommunications services to government offices, businesses, schools and homes.

Under a plan approved by the City Council on Tuesday, Anaheim's Public Utilities Department will negotiate with SpectraNet International of San Diego to develop a public-private "universal telecommunications system."

Edward K. Aghjayan, general manager of the city-owned Public Utilities Department, said Wednesday the network "would allow a wide range of applications that are not currently available."

"It would provide a fully interactive fiber-optic link to the customer," Aghjayan said, "which would allow for any state-of-the-art or future state-of-the-art telecommunication needs."

The cable, which is only three-fourths of an inch in diameter, can handle nearly a million phone calls simultaneously, Aghjayan said, adding that it's "the superhighway" that would allow universities around the world to share information quickly and residents to have high-speed Internet access.

The first phase of the network expansion would involve construction of a $50-million to $60-million fiber-optic cable loop serving commercial, industrial and government facilities. Work would take 12 to 18 months.

The project's second phase would extend the network into the rest of the city over a five-year period and cost about $150 million.

If negotiations with SpectraNet proceed as expected, a final agreement for the public-private partnership would be submitted for City Council review by the middle of this year.

Anaheim already has a small fiber-optic loop that allows the Public Utilities Department to make high-speed data transfers.

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