Who doesn’t wish they paid less for internet and cable?
Farmington and Farmington Hills hope the pending creation of a fiber optic internet network across the two cities will drive internet and cable prices down for residents and business owners.
Both city councils recently approved a permit application from SiFi Networks to build a fiber optic broadband network. The unanimous vote allows for about 680 miles of fiber optic cable to get laid in the two communities.
SiFi Networks will spend $150 million to create the network, which internet providers will be able to rent for use. The two cities will provide some human resources, but do not expect to pay anything for the network’s creation or maintenance.
Officials expect the network will allow more service providers to operate in the cities and create a price-competitive environment. But, the services that already exist won’t go away.
Customer service:Spectrum opening new Livonia store at Schoolcraft, Middlebelt
“Anybody who is satisfied with their internet service provider, their plan and their pricing can stay with what they have,” said Farmington Mayor Pro Tem Joe LaRussa, who has worked on the project since its creation in 2018. “The fact of the matter is any infrastructure that already exists for Spectrum, Comcast whoever is still going to be there.”
LaRussa said having a network could also allow the two cities to provide more services like road temperature monitors, easier setup for drive-in movie events and rental kiosks at parks where people could rent some lawn darts or cornhole for an afternoon.
“We can design part of the infrastructure to provide municipal services to people more efficiently and design new services,” he said.
The project will likely take three more years — one for planning and two for installation — for residents to see the benefit.