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Tippecanoe and Fiber to the Home Too: Indiana Community Says Yes to Fiber Broadband

A western Indiana fiber-to-the-home project first envisioned more than five years ago is finally moving forward as it wins unanimous approval at the Tippecanoe County Redevelopment Commission.

Lafayette and West Lafayette, Ind., home to prestigious Purdue University, has a broadband problem.  Broadband advocates claim current providers Comcast and Frontier Communications underserve Tippecanoe County.  The former has put western Indiana on the “long list” waiting for service upgrades, and Frontier Communications offers little more than slow speed DSL in the region.  While Purdue arranges for its own Internet connectivity, off-campus students and area residents have had to make due with what the local cable and phone company offers, which isn’t much according to the locals.

“Comcast service has recently improved, but there is a big difference between Comcast service in a city like Chicago and what they deliver this part of Indiana,” shares Stop the Cap! reader Nick Jefferson, who tipped us to the recent developments.  “Frontier is a complete waste of time, and they have alienated customers across Indiana after taking over from Verizon Communications.”

In 2005, Tippecanoe County officials met with Verizon to encourage construction of its FiOS fiber-to-the-home network in western Indiana, as it had planned for the eastern Indiana city of Fort Wayne.  But Verizon sold off its Indiana landline operations to Frontier Communications, which has since shown little interest in expanding the fiber to the home network it inherited.  Now the county is considering financing a fiber network itself, to be ultimately run and administered by Cinergy MetroNet, which already provides service in the Indiana communities of Connersville, Greencastle, Huntington, Madison, New Castle, North Manchester, North Vernon, Seymour, Vincennes, and Wabash.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WLFI Lafayette Ultra-high-speed net may be headed here 3-21-11.flv

WLFI-TV explained the basics of the new fiber-to-the-home network and how it will be paid for in this report from March, 2011.  (2 minutes)

The $40-50 million project would not come out of taxpayer funds directly.  Instead, a novel financing approach would cover construction costs over a 15-20 year period using a combination of MetroNet investor funds and a “tax increment financing” district, which would provide a temporary tax abatement during the period the network is being paid off.  Taxpayer dollars would not be exposed — the financial risks would be to MetroNet and its investors alone.

A fiber to the home service would provide a network capable of gigabit broadband speeds, but historically Cinergy has offered lower speeds to their other Indiana customers, albeit at highly competitive pricing, along with packages of video and phone service.

Larry Oates, head of the West Lafayette redevelopment commission for the project, says the fiber network delivers more than just the promise of better broadband service

“This project could be a great economic development tool,” Oates told The Exponent. “It is up to the businesses and residents who live here to decide what to do with it. We are just facilitating their potential.”

The County Commissioners will decide later whether to give the project a final approval.

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WLFI Lafayette Tippecanoe County moves forward with plans for Fiber to Home 1-9-12.mp4

WLFI in Lafayette reports Tippecanoe’s fiber to the home network has gotten unanimous approval from the country redevelopment commission.  (2 minutes)

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  • JoeinIllinois: At some point, won't the cable companies press ESPN , the Regional Sports Networks, NHL network, NBA network, MLB network, NBC Sports Net, regional NC...
  • Paul Houle: The big issue with Fiber is that it has high costs to set up, not so much because the hardware is expensive, but because you have to either dig up t...
  • Scott: Perfectly example of why I still don't subscribe to cable or satellite. The only channel I *might* watch out of that entire lineup is Comedy Central....
  • James Cieloha: CableOne, Service Electric, GCI, Buckeye and other NCTC members are being forced by Viacom to add the Epix movie channels in order to carry the cable ...
  • Dave Hancock: I don't know where AP lives, but in MOST areas of the country MOST people do not have any choice for High Speed Internet (15mbps or above) - it is the...
  • tacitus: That doesn't sound right. Are you in some sort of contract? Where in the country is this?...
  • AP: Good luck cutting cable if you live in an area that has one cable, internet, and phone company like I do. If you want internet or phone with the cable...
  • Dave Hancock: Soon the rest of the cable companies will follow Verizon's lead and start limiting the input bandwidth to their systems (ex: Netflix) to discourage su...
  • Milan in Austin: Cable TV is an obsolete product! I suggest everyone seriously consider dropping cable television. I cut the cord in August of 2013, and don't miss ca...
  • gsuburban: I have to agree that Verizon is not interested in providing its customers with a "clear pipe" due to the politics of peer-to-peer data sharing or what...
  • Scott: Not good, that takes away all your leverage in the situation. If you're holding the money you can work through the BBB or try and negotiate with the ...
  • Hudson Mohawk Press: We knew it couldn't last forever. Starting this month Time Warner Cable of NYC is charging Earthlink Internet customers a $5.99 modem lease fee. The w...

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