NORTH PORT — Frontier Communications plans to install more than 114 miles of conduit and fiber in North Port, including in North Port Estates.
The city of North Port announced Tuesday on Facebook that Frontier had started submitting permits for the projects.
Crews started working in the North Biscayne Drive area of North Port Estates on Friday.
Frontier has said it may take up to 4-6 months after installation before the service would be available.
Starting in September, Frontier is to begin working on installation of conduit and fiber along the south side of Tropicaire Boulevard between Sumter Boulevard and Biscayne Drive, as well as neighborhoods off of Tropicaire Boulevard, Sumter Boulevard and Salford Boulevard.
In 2021, Frontier is scheduled to install conduit and fiber optic cable in other areas of the city.
Spotty internet service in portions of the city of North Port has long been a sore point among residents and was frequently mentioned by all North Port City Commission candidates as a top priority.
For years, neighborhoods have lacked enough density for providers to justify extending the infrastructure necessary to provide high-speed internet access.
As a partial remedy, the city budgeted funds for the installation of conduit along Tropicaire Boulevard as part of the $3.95 million widening of Tropicaire Boulevard from Van Camp Street to Toledo Blade Boulevard.
The city’s plan is to install conduit and pull and splice boxes, through which a telecommunications company would run fiber-optic cables at a later date.
North Port Community Outreach Coordinator Michael Fear said details are still being worked out as to whether the city or Frontier would still run conduit on Tropicaire between Sumter Boulevard and Biscayne Drive, along with the first phase of the road project.
The city budgeted about $250,000 for that task.
A Frontier spokesman said the project will bring expanded internet access and connectivity to the communities they serve.
“Frontier continually works to maintain, upgrade and enhance our network to deliver reliable, quality and expanded services to our customers,” the spokesman added. “We implement expansions of our fiber network where it can deliver customer benefits and makes good business sense.”
Frontier’s scope of work along Tropicaire would go beyond what the city has planned, noted Jimmy Polak, an engineering technician with the city of North Port who has been working with Frontier on the effort.
“They’re not only going down Tropicaire, once they go down Tropicaire, they’re also going to be going off into the subdivisions too,” he said, then added that while the city was only going to install conduit along Tropicaire Boulevard, Frontier plans to lay conduit and fiber along a majority of the side roads too.
Right now, Polak said, Frontier workers have already started to fix older infrastructure off South Salford Boulevard, as well as a small are off of South Sumter Boulevard near Pocatello Avenue and North Salford Boulevard near Warrior Avenue.
“Just tying loops in and hardening their infrastructure a little bit more, so they can have better service,” he added.
North Port Engineering Manager Jerry Traverso said the conduit would work in conjunction with the city’s plan to widen Tropicaire.
“Probably their installation would go before us,” he added. “They work at a very aggressive schedule.”
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