CARLSBAD — The city of Carlsbad plans to upgrade the digital infrastructure for its traffic management system by collaborating with a local internet service provider and leveraging existing underground conduits.
The initiative marks the second phase of the city’s larger Carlsbad Digital Information Network project, which seeks to modernize the city’s data and computer systems infrastructure.
The mutually beneficial agreement aims to enhance the city’s network capacity, specifically along Rancho Santa Fe Road from San Elijo to Olivenhain, using fiber-optic cables provided by Solana Beach-based Netly Fiber Holdings.
In 2010, the city installed underground conduits for traffic management, using copper wiring that now requires replacement due to technological advancements. To avoid significant costs ranging from $3 million to $9 million, the City Council voted unanimously on Dec. 12 to adopt a resolution to use existing conduits and collaborate with Netly for fiber-optic cable installation.
“It’s a huge value to the city considering that Netly would be doing this work regardless of whether or not this agreement was in place so now we get to experience a little added value from that work,” said Joe Stephenson, the city’s assistant information technology director.
The agreement with Netly, which is looking to expand its services citywide over the next several years, allows access to the city’s conduit in exchange for using the internet provider’s fiber-optic cables. This collaboration minimizes street disruptions, speeds up service delivery and provides faster internet services to residents.
Councilmember Teresa Acosta also emphasized the importance of informing residents about this work near their homes.
“This particular area has houses right next to this very fast-paced Rancho Sant Fe Road and just a small, six-foot wall separates the backyards of those houses,” Acosta said. “I just want to recommend that we make sure we are informing our residents that this is happening right behind their houses.”
The agreement covers an initial section of Rancho Santa Fe Road but can expand to other city areas where city-owned conduits are available. The contract spans a 10-year term, renewable up to 40 years, with provisions for Netly’s responsibilities in case of infrastructure abandonment.
Financially, the agreement incurs no direct costs to the city. Estimates suggest potential savings between $60,000 to $150,000 for the initial section, with substantial value if expanded citywide. City budget allocations and the strategic digital investment plan will cover associated costs for network equipment and contractor expenses.