ROCKVILLE – if you think the speed of light is fast, what about the “speed of ideas?”
UltraMontgomery director Mituski Herrera briefed the Montgomery County Council last week on a plan to move the County at the “speed of ideas.”
On May 10, the council approved plans to build a fiber cable beneath of the Potomac River, to connect the County to a seven mile ring of 30 data centers in Ashburn, Va. in order to improve broadband service in the County.
The County will spend $1,124,000 over six years to connect the fiber network as part of a public private partnership between USA Fiber, White Oak data center Bytegrid and the County.
Ninety percent of East Coast internet traffic travels through Ashburn.
“I think this is a conversation that we are all going to get more used to over time,” said Council member Hans Riemer (D-At large).
“Because planning for fiber, planning for high speed internet networks is going to become as everyday as planning for roads and planning for sewers and planning for water and planning for power…it’s a basic infrastructure issue.”
The planned fiber connection under the Potomac would improve broadband speed and reliable as the route would be shorter and more direct to the data centers in Ashburn.
“Going underneath the Potomac is more direct,” said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett.
Leggett said current fiber connection routes are built on bridges over the Potomac.
Connecting to the data center in Ashburn is part of a large economic plan in the County called ultraMontgomery, which centers on growing tech jobs in the County by expanding the broadband services needed by many tech companies.
“The goal, as we mentioned, of ultraMontgomery is to grow the biotech, the cyber security, the financial services, the game design, those knowledge based jobs that require reliable and robust ultra high speed broadband,” said Herrera, the director of the ultraMontgomery.
Herrera said the proposed route of the will be completely underground and cross the Potomac River at land owned by the Maryland Department of natural resources along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal that parallels the Potomac.
Herrera told the council the federal government approved the necessary permits for the plan due to support from Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8).
The plan also calls for the construction of FiberNet links as part of the Purple Line mass transit project to will connect Bethesda, Silver Spring and the University of Maryland’s camps in College Park.
“This is terrific, it is great news for Montgomery County, and I’m sure that we’re including this information in our marketing of Montgomery County as we move to the new economic development corporation,” said Council President Nancy Floreen (D-At large).