Thursday, 27 October 2022 13:30

$32 Million High Speed Internet Project Comes to Saratoga

Photo provided. Photo provided.

SARATOGA — After careful planning and testing, Saratoga Springs city officials and SiFi Networks celebrated the official groundbreaking of the Saratoga Springs FiberCity® project on October 25. The fiberoptic network being built citywide will improve digital connectivity in the city. Once complete the $32 million venture, being funded privately, will see high-speed fiber infrastructure available to every household, business and institution within city limits. Work to construct the network began earlier this year with the first homes scheduled to go-live next fall, and the entire city slated for completion in 2024. Officials also announced that that the internet service provider GigabitNow has signed on to be first provider on the network, offering speeds up to 10 Gigabits per second - among the fastest internet speeds in the United States.

“Today is a great day for the future of Saratoga Springs,” said Jason Golub, Commissioner of Public Works, City of Saratoga Springs. “This is a once-in-a-generation infrastructure project that will usher in a new era of high-speed connectivity, digital inclusion, digital readiness and new opportunities to expand and innovate in our local economy,” explained the Commissioner.

Unlike a typical fiber network, the FiberCity® is being built as an Open Access network, meaning that with one connection, residents and businesses can access multiple service providers for high-speed internet service, Smart City applications, telehealth, streaming video, voice and other uses. On an Open Access network, service providers compete for customers based on service, price and reliability, essentially disrupting the decades-old model that phone companies and internet providers have long enjoyed. 

“Once complete, our residents and businesses will benefit from competition,” said Commissioner Golub. 

One key element of Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® network is that it is being made available to every address—business, residential, and institution—within the city. This includes low-income housing units that are typically passed over by internet service providers. 

“We’re excited to partner with the city and celebrate full-scale construction of the Saratoga Springs FiberCity®. We believe that everyone in the community deserves access to high-speed fiber infrastructure - connecting the community to each other and the world around us - at speeds never experienced before in New York,” said Robert Heaps, Corporate Vice President, SiFi Networks. 

Todd Shimkus, President & CEO of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, a driving force behind the development of the network, said that the Saratoga Springs FiberCity® network will usher in the next chapter in the city’s economy.

“It’s now estimated that one-third of the workforce works remotely, at least part of the week. Having the FiberCity® in Saratoga Springs is a game changer for economic development and will also help the region attract large employers and technology companies,” said Shimkus. 

“Our hotels have been vying for better connectivity for years. Full fiberoptic connectivity will enhance the visitor experience and enable our hospitality sector to do so much more for customers,” noted Darryl Leggieri, President of Discover Saratoga.

“The City began contemplating the need for an all-fiber network more than five years ago. We understood back then - even before the pandemic - the importance of high-speed connectivity for our residents and businesses. This unique partnership forged with SiFi Networks has helped us start to realize what modern-day digital connectivity can be. I’m enormously proud to see the FiberCity® come to fruition,” said former Commissioner of Finance, Michele Madigan. 

Full-scale construction on Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® will continue until around Thanksgiving when underground work will be paused for the winter. Crews will resume work in the spring and the first customers on the network will go-live next fall. Those interested in learning more about GigabitNow service can visit www.gigabitnow.com/saratoga-springs. 

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