Boise & Garden City

Boise, BSU, highway district team up to build high-speed data line in Downtown Boise

A new fiber-optic line will connect Boise State University’s main campus to City Center Plaza, the multiuse project under construction next to the U.S. Bank building.

BSU has agreed to lease 53,000 square feet in the new building for use by Computer Science Department upperclassmen, so a high-speed data connection is crucial. The same fiber line — a spur off it, anyway — would connect to the Bronco Shop on Broad Street, which sells university apparel and novelties.

The city of Boise and the Ada County Highway District, which controls public roads throughout the county, are collaborating with BSU to build the fiber line. Each of the three entities will be able to use 48 strands in the 144-strand line.

The benefit to Boise is a high-speed data connection between City Hall and the Police Department’s substation on the BSU campus.

The highway district gets more connections and bandwidth for its own existing fiber network. The district plans to use the connections to control traffic signals and intersection cameras, spokeswoman Nicole Du Bois said.

Zayo, one of the Treasure Valley’s main fiber-optics providers, will build the portion of the line that connects BSU’s City Center Plaza space to the rest of the line.

Over the past year, the city installed conduit linking the north side of the BSU campus to district-owned conduit in the Downtown core and an existing fiber ring at City Hall. That work cost $47,000. Boise State University will pay about $75,000 to install fiber in the conduit, said Adam Reno, Boise’s IT infrastructure services manager.

Besides permits to install the fiber, the highway district’s contribution to this endeavor is a major piece of the conduit where the fiber-optic cable will run. The partners hope to finish installing the line by the end of the year.

“Providing the same data connectivity from a telecommunications provider would cost each agency close to $36,000 (per) year,” deputy city attorney Elizabeth Koeckeritz wrote in an Aug. 20 memo to the City Council. “By working together to connect these four locations, the (return on investment) is less than one year.”

At some point, Reno said, the city wants to connect the Boise Depot, the original railroad depot on the Bench south of the BSU Campus that the city owns and rents out as a venue for business meetings, weddings and other events.

Koeckeritz recommended approval of the agreement. City Council members approved it at their noon meeting Tuesday.

Efforts to contact a BSU representative for comment on this story were unsuccessful.