Public Information Meeting Scheduled Regarding Metronet

A public information meeting will be held on Aug. 20 in Plymouth regarding plans to extend a dark fiber broadband network into Marshall County and the city of Plymouth. The meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. ET in the second floor meeting room of the Marshall County Building, was organized by the Marshall County Board of Commissioners and the city of Plymouth, led by President Kevin Overmyer and Mayor Mark Senter.

The proposed extension of St. Joe Valley Metronet from St. Joseph County south into Marshall County and through Plymouth has been under discussion for several months with the commissioners and the mayor’s office working together to create new infrastructure for economic development that will serve existing businesses and attract new investment, and the Aug. 20 public information session will discuss engineering, design and the proposed route to install more than 30 miles of underground conduit and fiber optic cable.

St. Joe Valley Metronet installed its original fiber backbone and connected the first subscribers in
2006. The dark fiber network now extends more than 100 miles and serves more than 100 subscribers in South Bend, Mishawaka and St. Joseph County.

Funding for the preliminary engineering study is being divided between Marshall County and the
city of Plymouth. While initial cost estimates to complete the extension are around $2.3 million, the final cost will be determined by the engineering study which is expected to be completed this fall. Installation of conduit and cable could begin with the start of the construction season in spring of 2014.
Businesses in Marshall County already have committed to multiple-year subscription contracts to help fund installation of the fiber.

The Aug. 20 meeting is an opportunity for the public to engage directly with experts about the
planned route and design; the expected benefits of Metronet service in Marshall County and Plymouth;
and to learn how Metronet and dark fiber work.