Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Thursday, April 12, 2001

Release #112-01

Contact: Sunny Mindel/ Lynn Rasic
(212) 788-2958
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  Geoff Ryan (DEP) (718) 595-7867


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today announced that the City is seeking requests for proposals (RFP) to convert an unused water main system into a conduit for telecommunications fiber optic cable. The new network will help meet the increasing demand for fiber optic cable created by the growth of the Internet and New Media industries.

"The explosive growth of New York City's high-technology industry has created a tremendous demand for infrastructure to support information services," Mayor Giuliani said. "The conversion of this unused water main into a high-speed telecommunications network will dramatically expand the much-needed conduit space for new fiber optic installations, without disrupting our City's streets. The new conduit will cultivate the growth of information technology services available to New Yorkers and benefit the industries that rely on high speed data transmission."

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Education and Cultural Affairs Anthony P. Coles said, "Thanks to the innovative efforts of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the Department of Environmental Protection, existing and underutilized City infrastructure will soon be put to valuable use -- supporting the City's growing technology industry."

Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Allan H. Dobrin said, "New York City recently has been recognized as the number one telecommunications hub of the world. This initiative will provide immeasurable benefits to our economy and ensure the City's continued leadership in the high tech sector."

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Joel A. Miele said, "The team work of agencies under Mayor Giuliani's leadership has produced a classic case of beneficial reuse, or recycling -- when we can convert infrastructure from the early 20th century to the purposes of 21st century technology. With 125 miles of existing pipe south of 34th Street in Manhattan and 50 miles in Brooklyn, the ability to transmit information at high speeds where water once flowed will guarantee the City's stature as an information capital well into this new century."

The RFP seeks an entity (or entities) to undertake the conversion of the vacant water main system to a telecommunications fiber optic cable system. The City's Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to convert the water main system, issued in April 2000, received numerous responses, including responses from major telecommunications providers.

DEP engineers identified the vacant water main and City technology experts determined that the now vacant pipes could be converted to hold fiber optic lines, which support high-speed data transmission. The system was constructed in the early twentieth century to supply high-pressure water to fight fires. The development of fire trucks that can independently generate high-pressure water for fire fighting caused the water system to become unnecessary and decommissioned. The main contains 125 miles of pipe south of 34th Street in Manhattan and 50 miles in Brooklyn. Twelve to twenty-four inches in diameter, the pipes are triple the width of the typical telecommunications conduit and can hold up to 36 times the cable of the standard four-inch-wide conduit.

Throughout Manhattan and in other parts of the City, telecommunications cables run underground in pipes, often referred to as "conduits," that are accessed through manholes. Due to the growth of New Media industry and other City businesses that require high-technology, an intense new demand is quickly filling up the available conduits. The existing unused water main system will meet this increasing demand and provide the underground infrastructure to support new telecommunications facilities without tearing up the streets, delaying access to telecommunications services, or increasing costs.

Individuals interested in receiving a copy of the RFP can contact Anne Cody, Contract Specialist, New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), 75 Park Place, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10007, (212) 788-6569. Responses are due no later than 3 p.m. on July 16, 2001.

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