Municipal Broadband Service Goes Regional in Fairlawn, Ohio

FairlawnGig service is now being offered to businesses and households along the government-owned network, which stretches for 151 miles.

by Rick Armon, Akron Beacon Journal / June 22, 2018
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(TNS) —  Fairlawn, Ohio, is expanding its broadband utility beyond the city limits.

The community is leasing space on the Medina County Fiber Network and has started offering its FairlawnGig service to businesses and households along the government-owned network, which stretches for 151 miles throughout Medina County and into Parma and downtown Akron.

“We’re now more of a regional provider than just a city of Fairlawn provider,” said Ernie Staten, the city deputy director of public service who oversees FairlawnGig.

Residential and business customers in Medina County and downtown Akron now are able to sign up for the municipal-run Internet and phone services.

Fairlawn invested about $10 million to install fiber on every street in the community and the Joint Economic Development District, bringing Internet service and phone service to the front doors of homeowners and businesses last year.

Forty-seven percent of households and businesses in Fairlawn — or about 1,850 customers — have signed up for the service so far.

FairlawnGig now offers 100 gigabit connections for business customers and a 10 gigabit connection for residential customers. The city also offers a direct connection to the Amazon Cloud, Staten said.

The high-speed Internet service costs $75 a month for households and $500 a month for businesses.

The city has had many requests from outside the community for the service but focused first on getting the system up and running in Fairlawn before expanding, Staten said.

The city is leasing space on the Medina County Fiber Network for a base price of $2,800 a year, with additional costs for usage, he said.

FairlawnGig is one of 13 carriers, and the only municipal operation, using the network.

“It’s great that we are partnering with a municipal network,” Fiber Network CEO David Corrado said.

Medina County created the open network six years ago through a bond issue.

Staten noted that there is an installation fee to connect new customers to the network, with the cost depending on the distance from the fiber and other factors.

©2018 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.