Since we started our broadband efforts in fall 2020 with our CARES Act pilot projects, FASTnet has been working to build out to our members as quickly as possible. In less than six months, we created a fiber internet service from scratch, with more than 2 million feet of fiber hung and 300 plus customers in some of our most underserved areas. We will continue our aggressive buildout with a plan to have construction complete by early 2024.
The plan as it stands is to finish construction in the areas where we started with our pilot programs and then complete a fiber ring around the service territory for communication to our substations and for service redundancy. Once the ring is complete, we will finish the project by building the final phases. This plan is a little different than what we would have done had we not gotten funding for our pilot programs, but the general outline is the same — completing a central ring of substations and then building out from there.
In this plan we have tried to balance system needs, finances and member concerns. The plan is fluid to a certain extent. There may be circumstances that cause a change in the timeline and as with any construction project, especially one of this size, there could be delays.
We have been very satisfied with progress to date and our goal continues to be to provide fast, reliable and affordable high-speed internet to every member that wants it as soon as possible.
We will also be communicating with members in each area as we get close to being able to provide service. Members can expect information in the mail, in their 4-County bills, on social media and in the local papers and news stations. FASTnet will also go into neighborhoods, hold events and even make phone calls to let members know we’re coming and to schedule installation.