Indiana-based Smithville Fiber explores additional major Bloomington Gigabit internet expansion

PR Newswire — September 21, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Sept. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Following its earlier
announcementin August to build new fiber networks in Winslow Farm, Lakes
Neighborhood and other areas of Bloomington, Smithville is now considering
options to expand its nationally recognized fiber service further into a
possible 1,660 homes in southeast part of the city. This new expansion
consideration of Smithville’s symmetrical gigabit fiber service will largely be
driven directly by consumer demand, following the expansion model used by Google
Fiber in other areas of the country.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160920/410059

“Over the past few years we’ve been asked many times by Bloomington residents:
‘When are you coming to my neighborhood?’,” said Darby McCarty, Smithville
chairman and CEO. “Moving forward, our message to southeast Bloomington today is
‘We heard you, now we need to hear from you.'”

A model currently used by Google Fiber asks interested residents to register and
place a modest monetary deposit to help guide development of new fiberhoods. “As
industry news coverage of Google has recently noted, creating all-new broadband
networks is ‘enormously expensive,'” Ms. McCarty explained. “So before Google
commits to a new fiber build, they want to fully understand whether potential
customers are truly interested or not – Smithville will now do something very
similar in southeast Bloomington.”

According to John Patten, president of Smithville Fiber, the all-new defined
areas of southeast Bloomington under consideration for Smithville expansion will
be asked to register and deposit $70 online to help Smithville Fiber executives
determine where to build a new network. The $70 deposit will be applied to the
new customer’s first bill if Smithville commits to building a new network in
that neighborhood.

The deciding factor for the potential Smithville expansion is this: current
plans call for Smithville to commit to a specific fiber build once the
individually defined Bloomington neighborhood registrations reach the 50% mark.
If that level of registration is not reached, the $70 will be refunded in full.

“Our adaption of the Google Fiber model is fair, particularly since the
high-performance history of Smithville’s Gigabit fiber service is well known in
the Bloomington area,” Patten explained. “That positive ‘word-of-mouth’ about
Smithville is so high that several people have asked us how they can personally
help bring Smithville Fiber to their neighborhood, so we’re creating a
‘Smithville Champion’ program to help build grassroots support.”

Continuing, Patten emphasized: “Once a neighborhood commits to the point where
formal qualified registrations cross the 50% mark for that specific
neighborhood, we’ll take care of the rest and get that neighborhood started with
engineering and construction plans.”

More information and registration opportunities by neighborhood will be
available at Smithville’s new portal site for Bloomington community expansions
at http://bloomington.smithville.com.

“This represents an exciting development for Smithville Fiber,” said Patten.
“With construction costs for fiber ranging up to $60,000 a mile in the
Bloomington area, we have to be as certain as we can that we’re making
appropriate investments in a given community area.”

Reflecting the reality of those costs is one reason that Google Fiber recently
announced that it is scaling back certain previously announced expansions in
other areas of the country, the Smithville president added. “The good news is
that fiber lasts a long time and can dramatically improve productivity and
quality of life,” Patten continued. “The challenging bad news is that fiber
expansion is often initially very expensive – our plan is to create a winning
scenario for the people of southeast Bloomington.”

The additional potential expansions into Bloomington are being made feasible by
new fiber construction that Smithville will complete to reach areas it
previously announced in August.

“We have had a strategic fiber presence for enterprise services in Bloomington
for quite some time,” said Cullen McCarty, Smithville executive vice president.
“By leveraging our current installations and coupling those with our committed
expansions in Winslow Farm, Lakes Neighborhood, and other areas, it makes sense
to build on that and see if enough residents are interested in us bringing a new
fiber network to them as well.”

The potential areas of expansion directly link to new trunk lines now in the
engineering stages of planning, according to Dave Brodin, chief operating
officer for Smithville Fiber. “Now is the time we need to know whether
additional residents are truly interested enough for us to extend a pure
fiber-to-the-home installation to their residence,” Brodin said. “Google has
found that the modest deposit better reflects a real commitment of interest, so
we’re adopting that model.”

If the defined neighborhoods don’t reach 50% within a reasonable period of time,
Smithville will consider them inactive and refund the deposits.

Earlier in August, Smithville Fiber announced its commitment to expand its
nationally recognized fiber service to more than 1,000 homes and apartments in
Bloomington and outlying areas.

While Smithville is considering these expansion projects, the company is also
moving forward with plans to update older copper connectivity in a
fiber-to-the-cabinet ongoing project in Greene, Owen and other counties where
Smithville provides rural service. “While it doesn’t yet bring the full gigabit
service available in a pure fiber overbuild, our fiber-to-the-cabinet project
helps bring our copper customers up to levels of service that match services
offered by our competitors,” Brodin explained.

“Whether fiber or copper-based, all of our customers are important to us,”
Patten emphasized.

“Our Bloomington new fiber builds will deploy our premium gigabit technology
service,” said Brodin. “This means high-speed connectivity up to gigabit both up
and down in data transfer speed – this is not a hybrid coax connectivity
project.”

Smithville Fiber operates high-speed fiber broadband service to residential
areas and to Indiana-certified technology parks, hospitals, manufacturers,
financial institutions, municipalities, large non-for-profit organizations, and
school systems. More information is available at www.smithville.com.

Media Contact: Michael Snyder, The MEK Group, 317-805-4870,
msnyder@themekgroup.com

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SOURCE Smithville Fiber

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