A lot of Spectrum cablevision customers were displeased to say the least earlier this month when their ESPN and Disney channels went blank, but that’s not stopping Guilford County government from entering into a three-year, $541,000 deal with the company that will provide much of the county’s network communication infrastructure and high-speed internet access.

This week, the county plans to renew a contract with the Enterprise Division of  Spectrum. That agreement was originally signed in mid-2017 and was renewed in September of 2020 for 36 months. At that time, the county significantly increased bandwidth at eight county locations and also added four new locations.

The new contract is for a three-year period starting on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023.

Spectrum is known for hiking prices periodically on its cable customers, but the good news for the county is that this new county contract will cost about 30 percent less than the current Spectrum Enterprise agreement. Guilford County is getting a price break because it’s taking advantage of rates worked out in a large-scale agreement the State of North Carolina negotiated with Spectrum.  That allows counties to get more favorable rates due to the size of that statewide agreement.

The annual expense for Guilford County will be $180,360, which comes out to $541,080 over the life of the contract.

In return for that money, Spectrum Enterprise will provide 28 wide area connections (WANs) – that is, connections that run across a large area such as the area between Guilford County government buildings.

Wide area networks physically connect separate networks – local area networks – using fiber optic cable that enables high-speed connectivity between Guilford County government’s many locations and also offers high-speed access to the public internet.

County staff is trying to build in some future-proofing to the service. Each location connection is scalable for some anticipated growth in county government, and the infrastructure allows for “on-demand bandwidth adjustment as needed.”

Staff in the Guilford County Purchasing Department have reviewed and approved the new contract and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is expected to give its stamp of final approval this week.