County Board Approves Agreement with JBG SMITH for Dark Fiber Access

Published on July 20, 2021

In support of advancing the creation of an innovation district in National Landing, the Arlington County Board today approved signing an Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRU) Agreement with JBG SMITH, to use a share of County-owned excess dark fiber and conduit access in National Landing. This agreement will support and benefit businesses, federal agencies, educational institutions, the public and other organizations with cost-competitive and reliable access to high-speed wired or wireless (5G) data-transmission capacity to promote economic and community development.

In exchange for conduit access for 75 years with an option of 24 additional years, JBG SMITH has agreed to provide Arlington with funds that offer an opportunity to support Arlington's digital equity goals. Arlington will receive $2.8M upfront and an additional $700,000 when connection is established to another section of dark fiber in the future.

Arlington previously installed the underground dark (dedicated) fiber to connect all of its facilities and the public school system with high-speed broadband technology. Arlington installed additional conduits in the ground to support the use of its dark fiber for economic development purposes to meet the growing demand for digital services. Through the conduit lease, the National Landing community will gain separate, secure access to the network of dark fiber. The National Landing area comprises the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard neighborhoods.

"This is an important step in realizing the value of our investment in dark fiber, furthering our economic development goals, and provides valuable resources that can be used for Arlington's digital equity needs," said Matt de Ferranti, Arlington County Board Chair. "Access to dark fiber in National Landing support efforts to attract and retain high-tech tenants that are developing innovative new technology and require this level of connectivity to foster the creation of an innovation district."

Conduits are a critical component of Arlington's fiber-optic network system. Fiber-optic conduits are protective tubing that houses individual fiber strands to keep them safe and secure and facilitate network communications. Arlington retains a significant portion of the dark fiber network for government use only, and additional fiber remains available for commercial use. This licensing agreement is Arlington's first with a commercial entity, and it will not preclude other similar investments by other commercial entities in the future.

Access to the dark fiber, coupled with its previous investment in CBRS spectrum and ongoing coordination with carriers and other service providers, will support JBG SMITH as it builds the digital infrastructure needed to attract high-tech tenants and provide the foundation for the planned innovation district in National Landing. These expected outcomes align with Arlington's economic development goals by diversifying the economy and workforce into new and innovative industries.

"JBG SMITH has spent the last several years laying the foundation in National Landing to create a first of its kind smart city meant to attract entrepreneurs, leading universities and global tech companies," said Matt Kelly, CEO of JBG SMITH. "Our fiber agreement with Arlington County is just another step toward realizing that vision and ensuring our customers, current and future, have access to the most secure and robust digital infrastructure available so they can succeed in building the future we all desire."

Arlington Economic Development

Arlington Economic Development (AED), part of Arlington County Government, is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of an economically competitive and sustainable community, and the creation of exciting, diverse and amenity-rich places. AED provides visionary leadership and superior services to Arlington's business and arts community, its tourism industry and its real estate development. For more information, visit

View the associated Board Report on this topic (scroll to Item #65).