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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • LCDC celebrates cable for business park

  • For years, the businesses in Leavenworth's Gary Carlson Business Park had to rely on T-1 lines for their internet connections.
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  • For years, the businesses in Leavenworth's Gary Carlson Business Park had to rely on T-1 lines for their internet connections.
    Even German Nieto, account executive for Time-Warner Cable, said that setup was not likely to attract too many new businesses to the park ― T-1 connections are roughly twice as expensive and much slower than more modern fiber connections.
    “That will scare new tenants away,” he said.
    Steve Jack, executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, said the presence of speedy internet was not among the primary infrastructure concerns when his organization set up shop at Eisenhower Road and 13th Street, at the entrance to Gary Carlson.
    “When we talk about fully functioning, shovel-ready mature business parks, you certainly think of the utilities of gas, water, and electricity,” he said. “I guess we just assumed that we had internet capability.”
    Jack said his organization had been in talks off and on over the years with Time Warner about extending the existing fiber ― which ends at 10th Avenue, near Walmart in Leavenworth ― to Gary Carlson. He said businesses that had setup in one of the multi-tenant buildings could all pitch in for a T-1. Not so for those in standalone buildings.
    “For the moms and pops that might come to this building and rent 1,500 or 2,000 square feet or the building the down the street, it was a challenge and it affected our ability to market the industrial park,” he said.
    Talks about an upgrade had been unproductive until about October, when Nieto approached the organization claiming he could get the project off the ground.
    “I think the biggest challenge at that point was to justify the cost to Time Warner,” Nieto said, though the need was there.
    He said Time Warner at one time wanted to charge the tenants about $80,000 to extend the fiber, but that instead he worked with LCDC Economic Development Coordinator Cecilia Harry and began to talk to the nearby business owners about the costs and shortcomings of T-1.
    “My job is to paint the story,” Nieto said, to justify Time Warner picking up the cost.
    As of about two weeks ago, new internet fiber at the park ― which includes Cereal Ingredients, defense contractor Northrop Grumman and the Veterans Affairs' Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy ― was “lit,” giving those businesses a faster connection.
    Nieto said that connection will be considerably faster ― T-1 lines top out at about 1.5 megabytes per second transfer speed. He said the new fiber can transfer data starting at seven megabytes per second.
    “There's a win-win whenever you do these things,” Nieto said, with both the business owners benefiting from those increased speeds and Time Warner benefiting from a larger fiber network.
    Page 2 of 2 - Nieto said the company's buildout has been influenced somewhat by Google fiber, now being installed throughout selected parts of the Kansas City metro area. But he also said the company was building up before that, to communities that had antiquated or nonexistent infrastructure.
    Jack said with 22 acres now available in the park, the new infrastructure could accommodate both those looking for inexpensive internet connections and those looking for fast speeds. He said it give LCDC another tool in filling the remaining spaces.
    “It'll give us a broader range of companies that we can recruit in,” Jack said.

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