RANDALL COUNTY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – The Randall County Commissioners Court published the agenda for its Tuesday meeting, set for 9 a.m. at the Finance Building on 16th Street in Canyon. During the meeting, the court is expected to discuss topics ranging from budget approvals and the possible purchasing of assets for a dark fiber network, as well as discussing donating equipment to the Texas A&M Forest Service Helping Hands Program.

The Texas A&M Forest Service Helping Hands Program, as described on the forest service website, is used to allow the donation of gently-used fire and rescue equipment, fire trucks and other resources to fire departments throughout Texas while providing liability relief to the donor. The program is used to assist in meeting the needs of volunteer fire departments in Texas, with eligible departments including those that are chartered and non-profit as well as any part-paid, part-volunteer fire department with 20 or fewer paid members.

Further information on applying or donating to the program can be found here.

Regarding dark fibers, item four on the published meeting agenda referred to discussing taking action on awarding, or purchasing, “RPF 2023-416-1 Dark Fiber Network.” The county was seeking proposals from qualified vendors for a Dark Fiber Network with cabling around the area from Oct. 13 through Nov. 10, according to published county information.

A “Dark Fiber Network,” as explained by Spectrum and Lightwaveonline, is a network created by leasing unused or under-used fiber infrastructure. Organizations may choose to lease dark fibers for a network to have greater security and control over the network, greater scalability, and reliability due to the organization being the sole user of the network. However, the networks may also require a higher upfront cost and investment for equipment to light the fiber, and the organization may also experience other costs or obstacles while monitoring and maintaining the network in place of an internet service provider.

The meeting, as noted in the agenda, is also expected to include discussions regarding budget amendments, employee requests, and voucher approvals. There will also be a closed meeting, as well as a period for public comment.