Joplin, Mo., Relies on Consultant to Identify Internet Providers

Joplin, Mo., Relies on Consultant to Identify Internet Providers

(TNS) – City of Joplin officials agreed late Monday to conduct a search for potential broadband internet providers.

The city council, at a meeting Monday evening, approved the payment of a consultant to issue a request for proposals for Internet service.

The cost of this work will be $358,928 for experts from Alvarez & Marsal Infrastructure and Capital Projects LLP to issue a call for proposals to develop the broadband service.

This is the second half of a two-part effort to identify which companies have an interest in providing extended service to Joplin. Some areas of Joplin have no service or slow service that is not suitable for today’s uses or to prepare Joplin for the future, city officials said.

The board approved the first half of the deal in July to contact suppliers to test their interest. The total contract is $797,618, but it was decided to split the contract into two phases to allow city councilors and staff to better manage the effort. The first phase of the contract cost $438,690.

As a result of that work, 16 internet service providers have expressed interest in furthering service provision in Joplin, Johan Bullington, the town’s deputy director of planning and development, told council late Monday.

The board had been informed earlier that the request for proposals would be issued in the fall. Councilman Josh DeTar asked if requests for proposals were yet to be issued.

Bullington said the final draft of the application is being prepared and will be released in about two weeks. DeTar asked if Alvarez and Marsal would continue to represent the city through this process. He was told that the company would continue to represent the city in receiving all proposals and all negotiations that took place.

Company representatives will provide an update in December, Bullington said.

Councilman Keenan Cortez asked if Bullington has a projection of when the city will be able to tell residents that faster internet service is available.

“Technology is changing fast and now we’re trying to bring updated technology to our community but I don’t want us to be 36 months away and we’re still trying to do that and what we’re trying to do is technology now outdated that won’t benefit us and we’ve spent a lot of money on it,” Cortez said, asking when city officials can signal to underserved residents that they have better service.

Bullington said she couldn’t say when but that Alvarez and Marsal first wanted to know if there was any interest from internet providers to come to Joplin. She said the higher the interest, the better the negotiations would be to bring faster and cheaper service to Joplin.

In the second phase, they’re trying to get specific RFPs out so they can negotiate with those who respond in January, Bullington said. In early spring, there could be more details about what new services might be available in the future and at what price.

Mayor Doug Lawson said after attending a tech summit last week hosted by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, he had a better understanding of the importance of having broadband. .

Cortez made a motion to approve the second payment and DeTar seconded the motion. The Board voted 9-0 to approve the second payment for services to obtain proposals and conduct negotiations.

The broadband project grew out of a Smart Cities initiative that the council adopted several years ago as a project that would use leftover funds from the city’s disaster recovery grant. These funds will provide $200,999 for this payment, and the city will pay the remainder, $157,928, from the general fund.

Council also advanced zoning applications for approval by:

  • Driven Brands, which applied to release an unused sewer line easement at a site where the company is to build a Take 5 car wash at 3209 S. Range Line Road, southeast corner of 32nd Street and Range Line. The utility pipes will be installed in a new easement already dedicated to the sanitary sewer.
  • Landlord Jack Frost for a zoning change at 2323 S. Highview Ave. from M-2 for heavy industry to C-3 for commerce for future business development.
  • Baily Austin for a Special Use Permit for the expansion of his daycare and preschool center, the Elite Preparatory School, at 3132 E. 12th St. The board was told the preschool had been in operation for five years without any complaints from the neighborhood.

©2022 The Joplin Globe, distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

#Joplin #Relies #Consultant #Identify #Internet #Providers

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *