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South Texas City Investing in Fiber Optics to Connect All

Pharr, Texas — which is located in the Rio Grande Valley — will soon begin the first of three phases to install fiber-optic cable and provide Internet access to all local residents, working to bridge the digital divide.

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(TNS) — The city of Pharr will soon begin the first of three phases to install fiber optic cable and provide internet access to all local residents.

During a meeting Monday, the commission approved a motion allowing City Manager Ed Wylie to purchase $556,032.11 worth of materials from Graybar in Fort Worth. The commission also approved a motion to allow the city manager to enter into a contract with STX Underground LLC of Brownsville for $1,019,593.

"This is in support of our broadband network to every home," Wylie said during the meeting. "We need to get started in breaking ground. This is the fiber optic that we're buying."

Both motions were unanimously approved by the city commission.

"We will close the digital divide in our city," Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said Monday. "Every home and every business will have a fiber optic cable attached to their home or business. It will be a gigabyte internet speed to upload and download 24-7, 365 to close the digital divide, to increase their ability to educate themselves, pay their bills, public safety and staying informed on what's happening in our city and around the world."

"It's great for economic growth as well," he added.

The city announced in May that it would be investing $40 million to provide high-speed internet to all residents. It plans to install approximately 2.1 million feet, or 398 miles, of fiber-optic cable.

Hernandez said Pharr will begin installing the fiber optic cables as early as September and anticipates the project will be completed in 12 months.

The first phase of the project starts in south Pharr.

"We always do it where it's needed the most," Hernandez said. "So we're starting in the colonias — in the Las Milpas area. We're starting in south Pharr and going north."

Wylie said that he did not have the exact numbers for the materials that the city will be purchasing, but noted there were three packages that went out for bid for each phase of the project. He estimated each strand ranged in price from $3 to $4.38 per square foot.

"There was three different outside packages, which is the lines in the streets and all that," Wylie said. "And there was four different inside packages, which is the lines going to the different homes we have for the Wi-Fi or the broadband."

© 2021 The Monitor (McAllen, Texas). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.