hickory north carolina sign

MetroNet and the City of Hickory, North Carolina are partnering to bring MetroNet’s fiber optic internet, TV and phone service to businesses and residents.

The press release seems to imply that the MetroNet deal with the city of Hickory is a public-private partnership, in which a municipality pays some of the costs of network construction. The release states that MetroNet will invest more than $36 million in the city, but does not indicate how much funding, if any, the city will contribute.

Public/private partnerships have been a hot trend in broadband in recent years as communities seek faster broadband but are not always successful in finding a provider to cover all construction costs.

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According to the BroadbandNow database, Hickory is currently served by Charter Spectrum and CenturyLink.

“With today’s increasing demands for connectivity, we are excited to welcome MetroNet to Hickory and add to our outstanding list of technology partners,” said Hickory Mayor Hank Guess in a prepared statement about the new MetroNet North Carolina network. “This investment by MetroNet will expand the service offerings in our area by providing the fiber optic connectivity our community needs to be an ideal location for both businesses and residents.”

Hickory is located located about an hour from both Charlotte and Asheville along I-40 on the Catawba River. The city is home to more than 41,000 residents and is the regional metropolitan hub for more than 365,000 people.

“We are excited to be adding Hickory to our growing list of Gigabit cities across the United States,” said MetroNet president John Cinelli in a prepared statement. “We appreciate the opportunity to serve even more North Carolina residents and business owners and we are grateful that Mayor Guess and the Hickory Council saw the value that our future-proof network can provide for the economic growth of their communities.”

MetroNet operates all-fiber broadband networks in more than 100 communities across nine states. Construction in Hickory will start this summer. The project is expected to take two years to complete.

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