August 25, 2020 — LEXINGTON, Ky.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Evansville, Ind.-based MetroNet today announced the completion of its citywide, 100% fiber-optic network in Lexington, Ky., earning Lexington, with a population of 325,000, the title of largest Gigabit City in the U.S. For the last 2.5 years, MetroNet has been hard at work laying 4.4 million feet of fiber in neighborhoods across the city. Already, tens of thousands of Lexington-area residents and businesses have signed up for MetroNet service, enjoying access to Kentucky’s fastest internet service provider1.
Former Mayor Jim Gray set a visionary goal to make Lexington a Gigabit City in 2017, and MetroNet answered that call with a proposal to invest up to $100M to make Lexington the largest Gigabit City in the country, bringing ultrafast internet, television, and telephone services to residents and businesses via fiber cables. The following year, Gray and MetroNet executives officially cut the ribbon to activate Lexington, marking the official start of services and the opening of MetroNet’s retail storefront.
Upon her election, Mayor Linda Gorton embraced MetroNet’s investment, saying in her inaugural speech that fiber was a key part of her economic-development vision to become a technological hub and to help Lexington companies grow.
“A citywide fiber network gives Lexington a competitive advantage, as we work to attract and grow jobs,” Gorton said. “MetroNet’s enormous investment in our City is an investment in a brighter future for our citizens.”
MetroNet now serves tens of thousands of residential and business customers in Lexington, and has expanded construction to neighboring communities in Nicholasville, Versailles, and further south to Richmond.
“The cooperation of the City of Lexington and council members was a critical component for success as we built out a complex fiber network in the area. In addition to the vision and support of both mayors Gray and Gorton, Aldona Valicenti, Chief Information Officer for the City of Lexington, and Scott Shapiro, former Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Lexington, are owed recognition for their leadership in bringing this vision to life,” stated John Cinelli, President of MetroNet. “We could not be happier to have a home in such a vibrant, growing city, and we are thrilled to mark this occasion and complete construction for residents and businesses to enjoy fast, reliable fiber-optic internet, phone and TV services. Our work does not stop here; we will still be actively involved in laying more fiber in the community as the City of Lexington continues to grow and develop.”
Though nearly all of MetroNet’s construction work is finished in Lexington, it will remain actively at work as the city continues to grow and develop, extending its fiber network in new neighborhoods as they arise. MetroNet also maintains a permanent residence at its storefront on West Tiverton Way, and currently employs more than 90 Lexington-based associates in departments such as sales, marketing, and customer service for current and prospective customers. MetroNet is also actively involved in the community through the Metro C.A.T.S. program, a collaboration with the City of Lexington, the University of Kentucky, and Lexington Traditional Magnet School, providing gigabit internet service, computers and technology classes for kids at the Charles Young Community Center in Lexington’s East End neighborhood.
Lexington’s status as a Gigabit City is based on the widespread access to its network. A growing number of cities have patches of fiber-optic cable that deliver gigabit internet speeds to select neighborhoods within a city. But Gigabit Cities are defined as having fiber-optic cables throughout a city, making gigabit internet access available to all and helping to close the digital divide. Chattanooga was the first to achieve this status, followed by Lafayette, La., and other smaller cities. Lexington, with a population that is twice Chattanooga, is the largest U.S. city with a complete fiber-optic network offering gigabit speeds to residents and businesses.