(La Porte, IN) - La Porte is well on its way to becoming an internet service provider’s first “Gig City.” When the work is finished, slow internet speed will be a thing of the past at any home or business in La Porte connecting to what’s basically unlimited capacity fiber. “I think this is massive,” said Bert Cook, Executive Director of the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership.
A ground breaking for the Surf Broadband Solutions project was held Wednesday but the internet service provider has been running the fiber underground for several weeks. The La Porte-based company is investing $5 million on building a fiber network for anyone in the city to access, said Patrick Wheeland, Chief Technical Officer for the firm.
Right now, the fiber is going in south of Lincolnway but will start heading north in the coming weeks. Wheeland said about 3,700 homes and businesses throughout the entire city will be able to tap into the network within the next couple of months. The company will later spend another $5 million on extending the fiber to another 1,300 potential customers north and west of the city limits, he said.
Wheeland said there will be enough capacity for a single customer, for example, to streamline up to 200 HD movies on Netflix at the same time without a service interruption. “It’s going to do everything you need with the speed it can provide,” Wheeland said.
The city is providing only right of way access to run the fiber and help in avoiding buried water and sewer lines. Cook said access to such high volumes of bandwidth should be a difference maker in attracting new businesses and residents in an increasingly digital world. “There’s so much that we do online having access to that connectivity becomes crucial,” he said.
Surf Broadband Solutions also provides access to fiber and wireless service in Lake and Porter counties and other parts of northern Indiana. The company also has customers in the Chicago area and up into central Michigan.
Wheeland said La Porte will be the first city it covers entirely with access to such high performance fiber but more are expected. “We are working to spread fiber across all of our entire foot print,” he said.