Northeast Tarrant

Grapevine and GCISD fiber optic system to connect city and schools

The city and the Grapevine-Colleyville school district are partnering together to invest in fiber optic connectivity throughout the city.

Fiber optic installation will provide connection between all city facilities and schools via 57 miles of fiber, officials said.

At a June 2 City Council meeting, the Council unanimously approved an interlocal agreement for fiber optic installation with the city and school district.

“I think it’s great,” City Councilwoman Darlene Freed said.

Fiber optic connectivity will provide enhanced public safety communication throughout the city, will provide unlimited bandwidth for the city and GCISD, will increase options for Wi-Fi in public spaces, will improve security camera options in facilities and public spaces, will connect all schools and major city buildings and will improve synchronization of traffic signals, officials said.

During discussion of the issue, Assistant City Manager Jennifer Hibbs said it was a natural partnership, adding that their plans were “received very favorably” by the district.

The five year project will install and connect new fiber optic cables to GCISD buildings and will increase overall bandwidth from 1GB to a minimum of 10GB. As part of the agreement, the city will serve as the contractor.

Explaining that a committee was formed last year to look into the issue, Hibbs said they had determined it would be “much less expensive to do the fiber ourselves” than to use a vendor.

She said the city would “manage the project ourselves and put it in ourselves and maintain it ourselves rather than going through a vendor.”

Hibbs talked of the importance of the technology, saying its use runs the gamut from integrating traffic signals to city irrigation systems to city security cameras.

City Manager Bruno Rumbelow said the fiber network partnership gives the city government and GCISD the unlimited capacity to meet the technological challenges of today and tomorrow.

“The network will give us the capability to provide even better services to our community and benefit every school and every student,” Rumbelow said. “This project again demonstrates the board of trustees and the City Council’s partnership approach in Grapevine.”

GCISD board of trustees approved the measure May 21.

Robin Ryan, GCISD superintendent of schools, said that he is “so proud of the partnership that we have with the city of Grapevine.”

He said, “Working together we will be able to better serve our GCISD students while creating significant savings over time.”

Lane Hunnicutt, GCISD executive director of technology, said the new system not only will provide the potential for greater network reliability and faster connectivity for district technology, it also will be a significant cost savings for the district.

“By partnering with the city, the district is able to save more than 50 percent on installation of the new fiber optic cables,” Hunnicutt said. “Additionally, since the city is enabling the district to own our own fiber, we will no longer be reliant on a third party provider for monthly service and maintenance.”

Plans are to start as early as this summer, Hibbs said.

Once the project is finish, the district will have four strategically placed core sites across the district that will ensure stability, provide redundancy and reduce the possibilities of a network outage. While the installation of the fiber optic cables is scheduled to be completed in five years, district officials said the benefits would be seen sooner.

“I think this is going to be a great project not only for the city but also for the school district. I think this is great when we can find partnerships like this that work,” Councilman Chris Coy said.