Barkhamsted Connecticut Conducts Municipal Fiber Broadband Network Feasibility Study

Town commissions infrastructure deployment cost analysis and online broadband survey to assess community support for town-owned fiber-to-the-home Internet service.

  • Sertex

Plainfield, CT –Representatives from Sertex Broadband Solutions are working with officials from the Town of Barkhamsted, Connecticut, to assess community interest in and costs associated with building a municipally-owned fiber broadband network to connect and serve the entire town. The project will use SertexConnect, a planning platform that helps communities begin the complex task of building community-wide fiber networks, to conduct a customized broadband survey and develop an actionable deployment plan.

Barkhamsted is a small bedroom community with approximately 1,650 households, 44 square miles, and close to 75 miles of roads. Currently, internet service is available through a single incumbent provider. The goal of the feasibility initiative is to educate residents and business owners about the opportunity for the town to invest in building an open-access broadband network to give reliable, affordable high-speed internet connections to all properties.

Launching in May, the Barkhamsted online survey will allow visitors to run a speed test from their home or business, then take a poll that will gauge public interest in building and subscribing to a municipally-owned fiber-to-the-home (FTTX) network. Town residents and business owners will be able to access the survey from a link on the Barkhamsted website.

Concurrent with the broadband interest survey, experts from Sertex will conduct an FTTX Feasibility Study in the town. This financial and engineering analysis will provide high-level design requirements and costs for network construction, including aerial and underground fiber pathways, pole licensing, engineering, fiber drops, equipment and installation, and annual operating and maintenance expenses. The resulting financial information will be essential for residents in deciding to approve a municipal network, and for the town in applying for funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Don Stein, Barkhamsted First Selectman, remarked, “The town is very excited to work with Sertex on this very important project to determine how we can bring high speed internet to Barkhamsted and the surrounding communities. In today’s world, fiber optic broadband becomes critical to those who work from home, attend school from home or who use broadband for their entertainment.”

“Barkhamsted officials recognize municipal fiber broadband as an opportunity for freedom and choice. Our goal is to provide the information and data to help the community to explore their options and make confident decisions,” said Michael Solitro, Sertex founder and CEO. 

Unlike fiber internet services from private companies, municipally-owned networks ensure universal high-speed broadband connections and offer more bandwidth at lower rates. The Sertex public/private partnership model empowers communities with 100 percent ownership control over end-user costs, service levels, and operational concerns. Taxpayer-approved projects are funded through long-term, low-interest municipal bonding. Infrastructure, maintenance, and operating costs are recovered through subscriber fees. With sufficient subscribers, future-proof fiber optic networks are self-sustaining with little to no budget impact.

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