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Cleveland City Council approves $72-million broadband plan for Cleveland Utilities Monday

From NewsChannel 9: It’s now official: Broadband internet service is now coming to Cleveland Utilities customers.


The $72 million plan was approved Monday by the Cleveland City Council.


The City Council had to approve the measure because they created an authority board, called Energy Authority, to oversee its operations.


The new network is expected to provide 1-gigabit broadband and phone service for residential and up to ten-gigabit for business.


The plan also allows the utility to design and install a smart grid infrastructure that is expected to provide faster power restoration during outages.


The plan was approved on a 7 to 2 vote.


Cleveland Councilman Tom Cassada and Vice Mayor Avery Johnson were the dissenting votes. Johnson declined to say why he voted ‘no in the meeting.


“It’ll come back to us. ‘Council, why did our rates go up?’ Well, we gave it away. We gave it away, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Cassada said.

Cassada said “they were overstepping a boundary” and offered a motion to delay the decision for a month but it failed.


Concerned resident Robert Rumbaugh expressed similar concerns during a public meeting on the matter March 8.


“It’s going to come down to cost. And when all of a sudden you can’t meet your bill and the government comes calling, the citizens of Cleveland will see their bill get raised,” says Rumbaugh.

The project is financed by the broadband division with an $8 million loan from the electric system for start-up expenses.


Broadband customers are expected to pay it back with their monthly bill.


Read highlights of Cleveland Utilities business plan here.


The next Cleveland City Council meeting is at 3 p.m. April 24.