Seattle-based GigabitNow will begin offering high-speed internet service to residential and business customers in Bloomington as early as January.
In which neighborhoods the service will be rolled out initially is as yet unclear, as are monthly prices, though a GigabitNow official said they will be “competitive.” The company expects to provide service to 85% of the community by the first quarter of 2025.
Gigabit Chief Operating Officer Dan Sivils said crews will begin moving dirt next month and pass by homes in late December/early January. He said teams will be meeting soon to determine which areas of Bloomington will get the first gig-speed hookups.
Super fast:Internet service coming to Bloomington
GigabitNow will provide download and upload speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. The company is offering 1 Gbps speeds for $60 a month in Southern California, though Sivils said those networks were created by a different developer, meaning Bloomington residents may not get the same price.
GigabitNow’s website advertises its service will not require long-term contracts, will have 24/7 live customer service and “no hidden fees.” Potential customers can preregister now to get more information when the service becomes available.
In a news release, GigabitNow says it is a division of IsoFusion, “one of Washington state’s largest privately held full-service ISP and colocation providers founded in 1991.”
Rick Dietz, the city of Bloomington’s IT director, said via email he was “pleased” to welcome GigabitNow.
“We’re looking forward to seeing their progress in the coming months,” he said.
The city this summer agreed to provide a $10 million tax break to France-based infrastructure company Meridiam, which agreed to invest $50 million to lay and hang fiber optic cables that within the next three years are required to reach at least 85% of the city’s population.
The city wants most of the city to have access to internet connection speeds of 1 gigabit per second. Low-income earners will be able to get a fast — but not quite as fast — service for free.
Until this week, the internet service provider had not been officially announced.
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The administration of Mayor John Hamilton envisions a future-proof internet service that provides Bloomington residents and businesses with blazing download and upload speeds at costs comparable to existing providers.
A speed of 1 Gbps is 40 times as fast as the 25 Mbps that, according to Consumer Reports, consumers need to stream a movie in ultra high-definition. However, if two parents in a household want to watch different movies at the same time, they’ll need 50 Mbps. And if one of the children wants to talk to grandma on Zoom at the same time and another child is playing an MMORPG, they’ll need even more bandwidth.
Sivils said both residential and business customers will have access to even higher speeds, including 2 Gbps and 5 Gbps. Those speeds also are guaranteed and will be symmetrical, meaning customers will have the same download and upload speeds. Sivils said Gigabit now also will offer an “up to 10 Gbps” connection, the speeds of which usually hover near 8.5 Gbps. Eventually, speeds will go even higher, he said.
Leaders in communities across the country have said the pandemic demonstrated high speed internet service is nearly as important as other utilities — water, sewer, electric — in enabling people to partake in modern society, especially if they want to work and/or learn from home.
Representatives for existing internet service providers such as Comcast said the Bloomington community already has broad high-speed internet coverage and existing providers were investing all the time to improve their services and speeds. In addition, they said the tax break for Meridiam was providing a competitor an unfair advantage.
However, Dietz has said in public meetings that the incumbents typically say they provide speeds of “up to” something, which can mean anything below that number, or that they’re “working towards” a goal — usually a stubbornly elusive one — or are “planning” to do something that rarely or never happens. He said that’s especially true in low-income neighborhoods where infrastructure investments are deemed cost prohibitive because not enough people sign up for the service to produce a return on the initial investment.
Dietz has said the city wants some community control over the fiber network because it does not want to continue to be left to the “whims of the marketplace,” which haven’t served the city as well as city leaders had hoped.
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