City to tap into broadband network

Public universities, hospitals, schools to benefit


SAN ANTONIO – Installed with tax money in the technology boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s, an extensive, high-tech fiber network has sat underneath San Antonio for more than a decade. 

Recently, CPS Energy has used the network to for Public Work's traffic management system, which includes 1,200 traffic signals.

Now, the city wants to tap into the network's unused potential. 

It is an idea first championed by District 3 Councilwoman Leticia Ozuna. 

"All of a sudden, you're thinking about opportunities that were never on the radar before," said Ozuna on Wednesday.

Ozuna likened the plan to a large pipeline that can be tapped into and used to take San Antonio into the 21st Century.

"So you open up a faucet for data, and you're just gushing out the data," said Ozuna.

The plan is to gush that data to big public entities in the city like Texas A&M University San Antonio, opening up opportunities like remote teaching. Schools, libraries, and public hospitals all plan to benefit, according to Ozuna.

"Those institutes have got to have more data," said District 8 Councilman Reed Williams. "We're all going to this new universal health care program that only works if you move data."

Because the fiber is already there, the city expects costs and maintenance to be low.

"It's not outdated," said Williams. "We can actually use it better now that we could 10 years ago."

Currently, more than 500 cities nationwide have adopted similar plans. 

Ozuna said benefits also lie with data mining, a job of the future. 

The network would provide data of all kinds, enhancing research and creating jobs.

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