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.