Palm Coast residents will soon have a third option for internet, cable and phone when MetroNet’s fiber optics brings what Mayor David Alfin called “zippier, streamier and happier” service to the city.
“There’s one thing I know to be true, is that Palm Coast residents’ lives revolve around daily use of the internet,” Alfin said during a press conference at City Hall Tuesday afternoon. “Having reliable speed broadband is absolutely essential. … Online access is a fundamental indication of a strong and innovative community.”
MetroNet plans to invest more than $50 million in Palm Coast for infrastructure and services, including a retail store for technical support, Alfin said, and will install 3 million linear feet of fiber throughout the city.
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John Cinelli, CEO and founder of Indiana-based MetroNet, said Palm Coast will be only the second city in Florida with the fiber optics-based service, after Tallahassee. MetroNet is installed in 14 states and is the largest privately owned fibers-to-home company in the nation, he said.
Palm Coast was chosen, Cinelli said, largely because of its size.
“We like to go to second- and third-tier cities, size-wise, because we find people know their neighbors here and if you do a really good job, high speeds, customer service, people will tell their neighbors, and it’s really good marketing for us.”
He added that “the big guys” — the larger cable providers — care more about big cities, like Jacksonville and Miami, and the smaller cities are more open to competition.
“When we come to a community, the thing that we say is the most important is to provide choice,” Cinelli said. “There is a cable company here, there is a telephone company here, we’re going to provide a third choice so people can vote with their pocketbooks and they can get really excellent customer service.”
He said constructing the network means following the electric lines.
“They have their poles and we string our fiber on their poles, when they go underground, we go underground. Our network will go everywhere in the town, on the poles or underground, following the electrical utility.”
People are moving to cities like Palm Coast because of the quality of life, he said, and the company is also considering other cities in Florida. “This is a great state, … we just think this is a great place for us to deliver our kind of services.”
Complete installation of the fiber optic lines will take approximately two years, he said, covering some 50,000 homes. “As soon as we get our first neighborhoods up we’ll start offering service. So we’re hoping to be offering service by the end of next summer and then have the job completed in two years,” he said.
Collaboration with the city has been instrumental in MetroNet coming to Palm Coast, and he officially welcomed Alfin and Palm Coast to the MetroNet family by giving Alfin a MetroNet hat and T-shirt.
City councilman Nick Klufas said, “There are fewer certainties in my mind than our continued reliance and growing reliance on access to quality bandwidth,” citing remote learning and employees working from home. “I’d like to see Palm Coast really be on the forefront of trying to attract digital workers to come live, work and play in Palm Coast.”
For information about MetroNet, visit metronetinc.com.