Lakeland City Commissioners to vote on deal with Summit Tuesday

Amora R Jelo

LAKELAND — Lakeland officials have a choice to make about establishing a connection that could bring a new high-speed internet provider to the city. 

City commissioners will vote on a contract with Orlando-based Summit Broadband Inc. that will create create a private-public partnership for broadband service. The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday. City Manager Shawn Sherrouse presented the proposal to commissioners the first time at Friday’s agenda study. 

“This is an exciting opportunity for all of us, if this is approved, with the opportunity to not only gain more speed but to be future-proofed, which is imperative,” Mayor Bill Mutz said. 

The proposal is for an initial 10-year contract between the city and Summit, with an automatic 10-year renewal providing that service provider upholds its agreement.

Internet issues:‘There’s an expectation’: Governments realize broadband isn’t just a private-sector issue

Previously:Lakeland hopes to strike broadband deal with Summit soon

This map of the United States shows access to broadband Internet subscriptions by county. Polk County lags behind other portions of the state.

Summit Broadband has agreed to invest $20 million within the next five years to build out the city’s broadband network to provide internet services to residential, commercial and wholesale customers. The company will be the “exclusive” marketing and sales agent for Lakeland’s existing roughly 350-mile dark fiber network, or a city-owned fiber optic conduit leased out to private entities to make their own connections, and handling retail services for new customers. 

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