The City of Pharr’s goal is bridging the digital divide. At the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the City of Pharr acted quickly in efforts to flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, one of the hardest-hit sectors was the education system. The City’s leadership met with local area educational leaders to discuss needs and address solutions that would help support this new reality, and one of the major obstacles for students and families to access educational resources and support was the lack of widespread, reliable broadband internet access. CobbFendley was responsible for performing a preliminary network study and network design as well as support for a new data center for the City.
PHASE I: PRELIMINARY NETWORK STUDY
- Existing Infrastructure Identification and Assessment. CobbFendley is responsible for the research and review the existing communications infrastructure within the City, including all existing fiber cable routes and carrier tie-in locations. We coordinated with key stakeholders within the local municipalities to determine critical infrastructure with connectivity needs. This phase created a high-level snapshot of existing assets based on available and obtained records. We provided an asset inventory map of public and private broadband infrastructure assets in the community. The asset map will be developed.
- Strategic Plan Development, Network Model and Layout, and Preliminary Network Design. The CobbFendley Team is responsible for consolidating and presenting findings to the City for review and discussion. This included answering questions and gathering input from the City and local partners to identify any missing data necessary for planning strategy development. Our team applied all the data gathered in this process to explore different models and potential network designs actively. We determined network topology, technology, and footprint. We also assisted the City in conducting any public hearings and/or informational meetings to explain the project. Our team developed a strategic plan for broadband infrastructure to provide internet services to all residents and critical infrastructure. The plan also addresses economic and social resiliency during natural disasters and local, state, or federal emergency events. We assessed the use of municipal rights-of-way, fiber infrastructure, pole lines, private easements, and other assets for the City to provide broadband service throughout the community.
- Alternatives Analysis for Broadband Network Design, Priority of Cost Impact Matrix. The CobbFendley Team is responsible for providing several network design options and alternatives for the City to consider how to implement its network build plans. Each option includes cost estimates and business models for both in-house and outsourced construction and implementation. A thorough cost analysis was prepared with critical information to include network capital expenditure estimates and financial forecasts. Our combined analyses was then used to develop an impact matrix to assist in identifying the preferred network design option.
- High-Level Network Engineering Design and Standards. Our Team developed a high-level network engineering design, revised financial costs, and business model for the Broadband Network Design solution. We developed technical standards and network requirements for deployment throughout the region and a projected engineering and construction schedule for the project. The high-level design considers network expansion functions, planning for additional capacity, and identifying the timing of and coordinating network upgrades.
PHASES II THROUGH V: NETWORK DESIGN
- Network Design. CobbFendley is responsible for Low Level Design with Professional Engineering Review. We will identified obstacles that will affect installation costs. We also identified third-party approvals or permits including conservation, environmental, and historical preservation permits, waivers, and easements. CobbFendley is responsible for providing plans, specifications, and associated cost estimates to City at 60%, 90%, and 100% complete. These plans include underground and aerial path determinations using the best and least expensive construction methods.
- Jurisdictional Permitting. CobbFendley was responsible for permitting all ISP and OSP designs through jurisdictional agencies to include municipalities, NEPA, NHPA, Tribal, state DOT, railroads, toll road authorities, flood control, utility districts, management districts, private easement entities, private property management, and 3rd party structure entities.
- Construction Packages. Finally, CobbFendley defined plans for construction traffic control, stormwater pollution prevention, and sequencing of construction drawings. We prepared the construction bid package that the City will issue as an invitation for bids to identify a construction contractor. CobbFendley advised the City during the construction contractor selection process to evaluate proposals.
- BOM and Cost Estimate. CobbFendley created a budget for the build-out that includes all aspects of the project.
PHASE VI: DATA CENTER
- CobbFendley is working with the City to determine the best location for the data center and central office or assist in securing collocated space. We will create an RFP for design and construction of the data center and central office. We will then assist with the selection, negotiation, and oversight of the vendor(s).
The engineering scope that CobbFendley performed as part of the City of Pharr Team Pharr.Net ProjectJose J. Pena, CGCIO | IT Director, City of Pharr, Texas
was an excellent example of CobbFendley’s ability to provide innovative engineering solutions that
exceeded the needs of the City of Pharr’s constituents.