Intermax taps into city’s fiber network

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This photo shows some of the fiber infrastructure in Sandpoint. Two of the conduits each contain 144 strands of fiber. Intermax Networks announced this week they are the first company in Sandpoint to lease some of those strands to provide service on the city’s economic development fiber network. (File courtesy photo)

SANDPOINT— Intermax Networks announced this week they are the first company to enter into all of the required agreements with Sandpoint to provide service on the city’s economic development fiber network.

"We’ve provided fiber services to commercial businesses in Sandpoint for years," said Intermax President Mike Kennedy in a statement Friday. "But today we are proud to be the first private partner with the City of Sandpoint to expand our network by licensing space on the city’s new fiber infrastructure."

Intermax has more than 150 commercial buildings on their fiber network in North Idaho. The Intermax fiber network connects Sandpoint to Intermax facilities in Kootenai County and Spokane and ultimately to fiber peer carriers at the Seattle and Portland exchange sites. The Intermax network is redundant and diverse all the way from Sandpoint to the west coast interchange points. The result is a seamless connection to the fastest and most reliable data and phone networks available, the statement says.

"Sandpoint has been an integral part of Intermax since the company was founded in Sandpoint in 2001," Kennedy said. "This year we are going to be dramatically expanding our service capacity in Sandpoint, and we’re pleased to be working with the city on this great project."

Sandpoint crews installed the fiber infrastructure underground during road projects over the course of about five years, lowering the cost of installation by thousands of dollars. The city installed two conduits that are two inches in diameter, and each conduit holds 144 strands of fiber. One conduit line is dedicated to administration use by the city to connect its buildings and keep services like 911 secure. The second line will be an open access network that can be leased out to private companies, like Intermax, to provide service to businesses and residences. It can also be leased for point to point connections between offices such as health care facilities.

"The city has worked for years to make this happen, and we’re proud to have Intermax be the first provider on the city’s network." said Jennifer Stapleton, city administrator. "They are a local North Idaho company who has many clients in Sandpoint and Bonner County."

In February, City Council approved a pricing structure for dark fiber leases to companies like Intermax. Companies would likely use the "indefeasible right of use" cost outlined in the dark fiber pricing structure, which is a lump sum, one-time fee. IRU pricing is outlined at $3,550 per strand with a six-strand minimum. For 13 to 24 strands, the price per strand is $2,367 — a 33-percent discount — and 25 or more strands at $1,183 per strand.

According to the pricing structure, providers will be charged an annual maintenance fee of $333 for up to 24 strands, and $167 per year for 25 or more strands. The maintenance fee includes a stipulation that it can be increased or decreased every other year based on changes in actual maintenance costs.

There are more fiber efforts underway in the county as well.

Fatbeam, a fiber installation company, was contracted to build a $2.8 million, 49-mile infrastructure for the Lake Pend Oreille School District's Fiber Wide Area Network throughout the district's 13 locations. LPOSD's district offices are located in the midst of Ponderay's infrastructure along Triangle Drive and Bonner Mall Way, which was installed while the city was constructing a pedestrian and bike path along that route last year. Fatbeam recently purchased one of the three underground conduits from Ponderay.

Fatbeam won E-Rate contracts for 11 school districts in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho to construct more than 200 miles of fiber throughout the region. The E-Rate program, utilized by LPOSD, is a Federal Communication Commission program that finances connectivity for schools and libraries.

Matt Brass, director of technology for LPOSD, said the tentative schedule has multiple sites scheduled to be lit on July 1 or soon after, including the district office, facilities, Sandpoint High School, Sandpoint Middle School and Lake Pend Oreille High School, as well as Kootenai, Washington and Farmin-Stidwell elementary schools. Throughout the summer and fall Southside, Sagle, Northside, Hope and Clark Fork are set to be completed as well.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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