MetroNet, a fiber optic provider, plans to begin serving Tallahassee following the City Commission’s October 16th decision to change the City’s Joint Use Agreement. The change allows fiber attachments on City utility poles and opens the door for companies like MetroNet to begin creating fiber optic network infrastructure.
Based out of Evansville, Ind., MetroNet provides high-speed fiber Internet, phone, and television service to over 80 communities across seven states. The company plans to create a fiber network spanning Tallahassee, including the South City, Frenchtown, and Bond neighborhoods, staff reports, with a total construction and installation cost of up to $100 million. Ultimately, MetroNet projects serving around 70,000 Tallahassee homes and businesses.
“This is going to be really great not only for economic development but for our educational system,” said Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox.
Introducing a fiber network to Tallahassee is expected to increase Internet speeds, allowing for large files to be sent quickly and fostering growth in business, education, and entrepreneurship in the City.
“If you’re going to be a true 21st-century city, you have to have good, strong connectivity,” said Mayor John Dailey.
MetroNet President John Cinelli said the fiber optic technology installed in Tallahassee will rival that of major cities like Miami, New York, and Chicago.
Additionally, Cinelli said the construction of the network will create new jobs. MetroNet plans to hire 350 construction employees during the construction phase and, after construction, establish 30 permanent jobs in Tallahassee.
“We’re already talking about preparing for a job fair because they’re going to need construction workers,” said Williams-Cox. “They’re going to need all kinds of people to make this happen.”
MetroNet anticipates beginning construction as early as Jan. 2020 with commercial service first available as early as Apr. 2020, staff reports. The complete installation is scheduled to take around two years.