Two fiber optic internet utilities are expanding this year in western Johnson County.
Metronet began its expansion into Bargersville earlier this month, and construction is happening right now in the Southview and Morris Meadows subdivisions. Most of Old Town is included in Metronet’s two-year plan to expand in Bargersville, with further expansion possible in the future, according to a news release on the expansion.
There are plans for additional expansion in White River Township with construction expected to start in the fall, said Marc Hill, Metronet’s Indiana market leader. Those areas are near Mullinix Road and County Road 800 North, Morgantown Road and Stones Crossing Road, Tracy Road and State Road 135, and the subdivision to the east of Hickory Stick Golf Club.
Metronet’s Bargersville construction project is a multi-million-dollar investment which would make Bargersville a “Gigabit City,” which means most in the town have access to internet speeds of up to 10 gigabits, the news release says.
The expansion is part of Metronet’s efforts to expand to 1 million residential households and businesses, providing more service options to hundreds of communities. The company already provides internet to much of Greenwood and parts of White River Township and the southside of Indianapolis.
Metronet isn’t the only fiber provider that is expanding this year in western Johnson County. Johnson County Fiber, the internet subsidiary of Johnson County REMC, announced last year the company is bringing fiber to the area south of the future Interstate 69 interchange and between current service areas from just south of State Road 44 north to County Road 300N in Bargersville.
Bringing fiber internet providers to Bargersville was a priority for the town, said Kevin Killinger, the town’s utilities manager. JC Fiber first brought service to Bargersville about 10 years ago to serve the town government and downtown businesses, but the shift to more remote work and online schooling underscored the need to expand to residents, he said.
Before the fiber utilities announced the expansions, most town residents could get service from Comcast, also known as Xfinity. Residents complained about speed and lack of choice in providers, Killinger said.
The town’s efforts to improve its own internet service led them to reach out to both providers. Once both providers have built out their expansion plans, most residents will have at least two options for internet service, he said.
Killinger expects the new internet options will make the town more attractive to people who rely on fast internet for school or work, he said.
“In the world we live in today, with a lot of folks working remotely, when someone is looking to relocate or purchase a home, internet is one of the top things people are concerned about,” he said.
The town also plans to install WiFi at town parks through partnerships with both fiber utilities, Killinger said.
The first internet-connected park will be Kephart Park, a planned park at County Road 144 and Saddle Club Road that is expected to be under construction later this year. Internet would gradually be expanded to other parks in the future, he said.