A new agreement announced this week between Comcast and the Colorado Department of Transportation could spur other communications service providers to explore new avenues for obtaining network capacity. Through the agreement, Comcast will lease two strands of a portion of the fiber network that the CDOT uses for electronic sign message control, traffic camera surveillance, travel time detection, weather station monitoring and other forms of communications. The lease agreement is for 20 years.
Comcast said it plans to use the network to launch advanced video, Internet and digital voice services in several Colorado mountain communities with a target rollout date of spring 2011. As part of the agrement, Comcast will provide maintenance services for the portion of the network it plans to use, covering an area between Vail and Golden, Colo. Comcast and CDOT estimate the value of Comcast’s maintenance services at $14.5 million over the next 20 years.
“We think of this as a ‘big win’ for Colorado taxpayers and we’re excited about the beginning of a strong partnership with Comcast,” said CDOT Executive Director Russell George in the announcement. “The agreement provides CDOT with a new revenue stream, and because Comcast also is providing professional engineering expertise and support, we’re able to reallocate some of our network maintenance resources to other important transportation projects, which are critical in these tough economic times.”
This deal seems like a win/win for Comcast and CDOT. And now that tax based have dwindled on a widespread basis nationwide, it seems like other states or municipalities also might be willing to lease fiber resources such as those operated by CDOT to communications service providers like Comcast. I would think other service providers also would be more than willing to sweeten the deal by providing maintenance as Comcast has agreed to do.