For the past two years De Soto has been working to increase the availability of broadband internet services in the city, particularly in the areas south of K-10 where service is not currently available. Increasingly, the City is concerned that the state of existing data infrastructure lags significantly behind the rest of the Kansas City region, and has become a significant impediment to our economic growth and viability. There are significant portions of our city with no broadband internet options at all, and City leaders feel that the overall lack of private investment in data infrastructure has not prepared us for the growing demands of our current and future citizens and businesses.
On October 18, 2018, the City Council approved an agreement with Baldwin City based RG Fiber to provide fiber-to-the-home gigabit internet services throughout the community. The staff report from the Council meeting when the agreement was approved is available here. The video of the Council meeting discussion on this issue is available here. RG Fiber has committed to immediately start the network build in the areas south of K-10 with a deadline of 12 months to have service available to that area. In addition, RG will provide free internet service to several City-owned facilities, and will diligently pursue the provision of the gigabit services throughout the entire City within 24 months. This partnership is the culmination of an effort on behalf of City leaders to solve our broadband issues.
In 2016 the Council formed a "Broadband Committee" to advance an effort to increase access to high speed data services throughout De Soto and the surrounding areas. Since its inception, the Broadband Committee has been actively engaged on several fronts to encourage broadband investment in our community. The committee’s efforts include reaching out to our existing internet service providers to encourage them to expand and improve their networks; working with our elected representatives at the state level to address the negative impacts of franchise legislation; encouraging internet service providers to consider building a network in De Soto; and investigating public-private partnerships to facilitate a fiber buildout.
In March of 2018 the Committee gave the Council an update that included a comprehensive background on the issue, dating back to the formation of the Broadband Committee in 2016. That report is available here.
In April of 2018, the Council authorized staff to distribute a request for proposals from service providers to build out a city-wide gigabit broadband network. The staff report from that meeting is available here.
The City received three responses from that RFP, and the committee spent the summer evaluating them and meeting with the respondents.
On September 6th, the Council selected RG Fiber of Baldwin City as the City’s service partner, and authorized the Broadband Committee to negotiate a formal contract for the project. The staff report from that meeting is available here. The video of the Council meeting discussion on this issue is available here: https://youtu.be/4JCUZ6vFSlg?t=3614
We look forward to our partnership with RG Fiber, and are excited to deliver a solution that will have such a direct impact to quality of life and economic viability in our city!