MetroNet has begun offering high-speed internet and television to a limited number of customers on Lexington’s east side.
At a news conference Tuesday, MetroNet officials said more than 360 customers are already receiving the service in four neighborhoods, including Andover Forest and businesses in the Hamburg shopping area off Man o’ War Boulevard.
More neighborhoods will be added as the MetroNet builds out its fiber-optic network to cover the entire city. MetroNet also celebrated Tuesday the opening of its first store-front office, on Tiverton Way off Nicholasville Road.
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who began a push in 2014 to recruit a competitor to Spectrum cable and make high-speed internet available everywhere in Lexington, said Tuesday marked the beginning of Lexington’s quest to become the largest city in the country with high-speed internet available everywhere.
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“Lexington is on the road to becoming the largest gigabit city in the country,” Gray said.
MetroNet officials have said they plan to spend between $70 million and $100 million over the next three years to build a fiber-optic cable network capable of delivering gigabit speed. Gigabit speed moves data at 1,000 megabits per second. Lexington’s average internet speed is 16.2 megabits per second, according to some studies.
Cities across the country are pushing to increase internet speeds, many with mixed success. Chattanooga, Tenn., is currently the largest city in the country with gigabit speed available citywide.
Lexington chose to build out its network by giving MetroNet a franchise agreement to operate in the city.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council approved the 10-year cable franchise agreement with the Evansville, Ind. -based business in December.
MetroNet subcontractors started work in January in some neighborhoods off of Richmond Road. MetroNet must first locate gas and other utility lines before it can install fiber-optic cable. About 60 percent of those cables will be installed on utility poles. Other parts of the network will be located underground, MetroNet officials have said.
Keith Leonhardt, the vice president of marketing for MetroNet, said other neighborhoods will soon be activated.
Leonhardt said customers are getting its 200 megabit internet speeds for $49.95 a month. Construction continues largely on the east side of Lexington.
MetroNet will move to other areas of city in coming months, but not in any particular pattern, MetroNet officials said Tuesday. Where MetroNet goes next will largely depend on access to utility poles.
To determine where MetroNet is available, potential customers can enter their address at https://signup.metronetinc.com/ssu.
The city of Lexington also has a website for frequently asked questions abut MetroNet and its construction at www.lexingtonky.gov/gig.