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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Argument for fiber thin

A push coming from ThinkBig Networks is encouraging the community to pressure the Ocean Pines Board of Directors to make a quick decision to allow an easement for fiber optic cable to be run in the community.
Initially, the proposal looks like a no-brainer with no up-front cost to OPA to have the lines run, but there is much about this proposal that should make the board take pause.
The original proposal to grant an easement came from FTS, the company that wishes to lay the infrastructure. FTS is owned by board member and acting GM, Brett Hill. FTS will make its money by leasing those lines to end-use providers, such as ThinkBig Networks.
The proposal presented offered a several-year deal to provide free fiber optics to the OPA Police Department, which on the surface looks appealing. What is concerning is there was no information regarding future costs to the police department along with initial and on-going costs for service to other Ocean Pines facilities. Those costs could be substantially more than the current service provided by the Mediacom cable network.
The only costs given to-date were for households, which are approximately twice the cost of existing high-speed cable, with no evidence that those lines are not more than adequate for either household or OPA facility use.
A recent attempt by ThinkBig Networks to persuade the board to act quickly was shut down at this week’s work session and the board was right to do so. There is no need to rush and there is much about this deal that needs to be considered, including ensuring there is a competitive bid process involving who, if anyone, will be granted an easement and what those terms would include.