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An Update on FairlawnGig Construction

A Letter to Fairlawn Residents from Ernie Staten, Fairlawn’s Deputy Service Director

Construction of the FairlawnGig network is continuing at a rapid pace this winter all around Fairlawn. We try to give residents advance notice of when construction crews will be coming down their street. In some cases the construction crews were ahead of schedule and we did not provide advance notice before construction began. However, I am working with the construction crews and we will give residents better notice going forward.

Our fiber construction crews do their best to disturb as little as possible while doing their work. When left unattended, construction areas including the holes and boring equipment should be fenced off for safety reasons. Notify me immediately if you find a construction site where this has not been done.

The construction crews are aware that all of the hand holes must be level and the utility boxes must be straight and level. This is difficult right now during the freeze, thaw, freeze, weather that we are having. Everyone understands that I will not sign off on the construction until all of this is straightened out. We are waiting until the weather stabilizes before doing this so we can avoid having to fix the same locations multiple times.

Restoration of private property and the right-of-way will be done directly by the City of Fairlawn Service Department. We will restore private lawns and landscaping to their original state, and anything in the right-of-way areas to the City of Fairlawn’s high standards. Final restoration cannot be completed during the cold weather. As soon as the weather breaks, the concrete, asphalt and landscape restoration will begin.

Sorry about the mess. I thank Fairlawn’s residents for their concern. By the end of the summer we will have gotten everything back to normal.

Fairlawn flipping the switch on its new internet utility

This article was published by The Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com on January 29, 2017
By Rick Armon
Beacon Journal staff writer

FAIRLAWN: Mike and Shannon Perkins would get annoyed.

Their three kids even more so.

Whenever they tried to stream a television show or movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime, it always seemed to come to a grinding halt and buffer and buffer and buffer and …

But no more. The Perkins family has jettisoned their private internet provider and recently became one of the first households in the community to connect to FairlawnGig, a new city-owned, citywide and super-fast broadband utility.

The Akron suburb is investing about $10 million to install fiber — which will deliver speeds of up to 1 gigabit — on every street in the community and the Joint Economic Development District, bringing not only internet service but also phone service literally to the front doors of homeowners and businesses alike.

The city is now flipping the switch on the first installations.

While his household already is enjoying the service, Mike Perkins, 44, a business development manager, sees benefits that extend well beyond his home.

“It’s going to make [Fairlawn] much more attractive,” he said. “Fairlawn is at the forefront and everyone else is going to be playing catch-up.”

Broadband utility

Rather than seeing the creation of an internet and phone utility as a financial risk, Mayor Bill Roth and other city leaders view it as a community asset that can be used to lure residents and businesses to Fairlawn.

Internet service is, after all, commonplace today, with more than 77 percent of U.S. households having an internet subscription.

Many households also are dumping cable and satellite television — commonly called cutting the cord — and getting their entertainment and sports through streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle and Sling TV.

“This is what makes us competitive,” Roth told the Fairlawn Area Chamber of Commerce during his state of the city speech earlier this month. “This really puts us on the map.”

Fairlawn is in rare company when it comes to its new utility. Read the entire article here.

GCN Magazine: Local Ohio officials prep gigabit broadband for economic development

This article was published by GCN Magazine on Jan. 12, 2017

By Stephanie Kanowitz

When Ernie Staten, deputy director of public service for Fairlawn, Ohio, had trouble getting online to do work, he knew the city had a problem.

Around the same time, Mayor William Roth was traveling to trade shows in China and Germany to find ways to bring economic development to the city of 7,500. Staten and Roth arrived at the same conclusion: They needed better internet connectivity.

Today, the city is about a third of the way through the build-out of FairlawnGig, a fiber-optic and wireless broadband network designed, operated and maintained by Fujitsu Network Communications on behalf of the city. It will give nearby residents and businesses speeds of 1 gigbit/sec to 100 gigabit/sec — more than 20 times faster than anything currently available.

“The broadband that we have is probably pretty typical for the state of Ohio. Ohio is ranked 50th now in the country, and Fairlawn was 86th in the state,” Staten said. “We were beyond the bottom of the barrel here in the city.”

That will change this fall, when the network is expected to be complete. Staten said 4,100 users are possible, although the city’s original goal was to connect 35 percent of the city. One neighborhood of 160 homes is already connected, with 75 percent of them signing up for service.

“We’re already making plans to go above the 35 percent in how we’re building it,” Staten said. “It’s a success is what I guess I’m getting at.”

Read the entire article