City, Comcast Business, Announce Agreement for Institutional Network

For Immediate Release: December 12, 2016
Published By: Office of the Mayor
Contact: Mike Dunn, (215) 686-6210, Mike.Dunn@phila.gov

(Philadelphia, December 12, 2016) – The City of Philadelphia today announced a multi-year agreement with Comcast Business for an Institutional Network, commonly called an iNet, and commercial broadband services that will significantly boost the City’s networking speeds and capacity, while reducing costs.

“We’re thrilled to be moving forward with Comcast toward a huge upgrade to the City’s network,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “In this digital age, the network will be the very backbone of our government, and will greatly enhance our ability to provide vital city-services, particularly for the departments of Police, Fire and Emergency Management.”

The City’s agreement with Comcast Business is for 15 years, a period concurrent with Comcast’s cable franchise agreement.  The network capacity for most locations will increase five-fold over what exists today.  Capacity to the Internet, for access to the City’s cloud applications, will increase by a factor of 20 times over the current network.

“More and more crucial information is passing over our network,” said the City’s Chief Innovation Officer, Charles Brennan.  “For example, the Police Department is making far greater use of video, and the Health Department is sending X-rays across the network.  Those are just two examples of uses that are much larger than our network today can adequately handle.  The Comcast network will help us meet those capacity needs and many more.”

During the term of the agreement, the City will be able to double the aggregate bandwidth on the network connecting City facilities with no increase in cost.  This will enable the City to meet the ever-increasing demands for a robust network well into the future.  The City is paying no capital costs for the initial 200+ sites, and future capital construction costs for any new sites will receive a subsidy which will increase over time. The amount of the subsidy may preclude any capital costs at all in many cases.

“This agreement will provide Philadelphia with robust, reliable, and secure services to meet the data network demands of a world class city,” said David Dombroski, regional vice president for Comcast Business. “Comcast Business will provide a much higher level of performance and be scalable over the long term, while saving the City significant costs. We’re thrilled to offer our hometown the performance and capacity it needs today and into the future.”

The agreement also provides for some major ‘quality of life’ improvements for Philadelphia residents.  Comcast is providing courtesy Internet accounts for all the City’s recreation centers presently operating without Internet services.  The City will be able to install Wi-Fi in all City facilities as well as Love Park. This will give citizens Wi-Fi service inside all of its facilities.

“This is a big deal for Philadelphia Parks and Recreation,” said Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell.  “While many of our facilities are equipped with internet access, including recreation centers that house KeySPOTS, there are at least 80 that do not.  And those centers are not adequately serving members of those communities.  Recreation centers provide services for all Philadelphians – providing access to the internet should be standard everywhere.”

Also included in the agreement between the City and Comcast is special consideration for bandwidth that could be needed by the City on an ad hoc basis for special events, such as visits of dignitaries or next year’s NFL draft.

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