SPRINGFIELD, Mo. All of Springfield will soon have access to high speed internet.
Springfield City Utilities announced today that it plans to expand its fiber optic network by more than 1,000 miles and make high-speed broadband service available to everyone in Springfield.
Springnet, a division of City Utilities, has been providing fiber optic internet service to area businesses since the 90s. But now, it will become available to every home and business in Springfield and even to City Utilities' coverage area beyond city limits.
CU will spend about $120 million to build the network, but they say that money will not come from taxpayers. They're partnering with private broadband provider, CenturyLink, to kick off this project. City Utilities has signed a 15-year lease with CenturyLink. Those involved say a public-private partnership like this is unique. Springfield leaders are excited about the opportunities this will bring to schools and businesses here in the city.
"It's going to create all kinds of opportunities for everybody in this community," says Scott Miller, Springfield City Utilities general manager. "And I don't even think we have any idea what this is going to do for us. So we may have to come back here in 10 years and take a look back. But I think this is a difference-maker."
City Utilities plans to begin design and construction of the fiber network very soon, with some cables above ground and some below. They say it will be completed over the next three years, but the goal is to get it done in two. CU crews will be working zone by zone, so some won't have to wait a couple of years.
CenturyLink says rates for the broadband service should be the same as other metro areas. City Utilities says there is also a possibility of other private partners other than CenturyLink in the future.