Broadband Franchise Proposals

Page updated on Jan 19, 2022 at 11:41 AM

Background

The City has worked for several years to address the ever-growing demand for more broadband options for the community. With the primary goals of the City’s municipal broadband initiative to connect the government facilities and to support broadband competition and access for all of our community, the City has continued to explore options for leveraging city assets and partnering with the private sector. For government and school facilities, the City continues to make progress constructing the City’s municipal fiber optic network to connect 90 City facilities, including schools and libraries. 

As staff continued outreach to potential partners, a number of internet service providers and broadband infrastructure companies have reached out to the City to express new or renewed interest in providing additional broadband services to City residents, businesses and other organizations.

Franchise proposal process provides a formal path for potential vendors to propose how they would use the City’s right of way to work with the City to build and provide broadband services to City residents and businesses. This right of way franchise would be for fiber optic cable primarily used for streaming, providing internet access for critical city services, and to support hybrid work and school instruction. Because the term of the Franchise will be in excess of five (5) years, the City is advertising bids in accordance with Section 15.2-2101 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended.

Franchise Proposal Instructions 


Franchise Award Process

In order to solicit proposals for a possible partner to provide broadband services via a franchise agreement, the City would issue an invitation to bid on a franchise through an ordinance. In accordance with State law, the invitation would be advertised. Once responses to the City’s invitation for franchise awards are received, staff would evaluate each proposal based on the City’s criteria. If one or more proposals meet the criteria, staff will bring back one or more franchise agreements for City Council consideration. The City has the right to reject any and all bids.


Timetable

November 9, 2021 Ordinance: First Reading
November 13, 2021 Ordinance: Second Reading, Public Hearing and Adoption
December 30, 2021

Proposals Due

Interested parties should submit ten (10) complete copies of their bid, in writing, addressed to the City of Alexandria, ATTENTION: Laura B Triggs, Deputy City Manager, 301 King Street, Room 4300, Office of the City Manager, Alexandria, Virginia, . Bids, addressed as indicated above, may be hand-delivered to the City of Alexandria, 301 King Street, Office of the City Manager Alexandria, Virginia 22314. ALL BIDS ARE DUE ON OR BEFORE 12:00 P.M., NOON, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2021.

January 11, 2022 Submitted Proposals Announced
January/February 2022 Franchise(s) Recommended and Council Award

More Information:


Broadband Franchise Proposals FAQs:

  • What addresses in the City require accessibility to fiber?
    See Exhibit B General Terms of Franchise,  section "COVERAGE”.
  • Does the City have a notification program for utility company related permits? 
    No. 
  • Is the three percent Gross Broadband Revenues above the five percent Virginia Communications Tax?
    There would be no cable franchise fee, because the Virginia General Assembly  abolished the cable fee when it adopted the Virginia Communications Tax.  Franchisee would pay the tax and the City would get a share of it  from the state.  But there is no mechanism for incorporating this fee into the tax; furthermore, the tax does not apply to Internet access service, which is what the franchisee would provide.

    Please see the applicable law provided below:
    Virginia Code§ 58.1-648(C) includes the following exemptions:
    The Communications services on which the tax is hereby levied shall not include the following: (i) information services; (ii) installation or maintenance of wiring or equipment on a customer's premises; (iii) the sale or rental of tangible personal property; (iv) the sale of advertising, including but not limited to, directory advertising; (v) bad check charges; (vi) billing and collection services; (vii) Internet access service, electronic mail service, electronic bulletin board service, or similar services that are incidental to Internet access, such as voice-capable e-mail or instant messaging; (viii) digital products delivered electronically, such as software, downloaded music, ring tones, and reading materials; and (ix) over-the-air radio and television service broadcast without charge by an entity licensed for such purposes by the Federal Communications Commission. 
  • Engineering – how much is this proposal looking for detailed engineering vs. an initial high-level design?
    Please see page 2 of Franchise Proposal instructions: "The successful bidder shall develop construction plans showing the location of the Broadband Network”
  • What proof is needed to “demonstrate that it is authorized to transact business in the Commonwealth of Virginia…”?
    For information regarding doing business in Virginia please see: https://www.tax.virginia.gov/register-business-virginia



    Questions?

    Contact Laura Triggs, Deputy City Manager.  

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