After three years of discussion and contract negotiations, Tachus began installing fiber internet to nearly 1,000 homes and city facilities in Shenandoah in early May.
Tachus began installing fiber conduit to homes in Shenandoah Valley in May, Tachus officials said. Upon completion, installation will continue in other Shenandoah neighborhoods including Tuscany Woods, Malaga Forest, Lily, Parkgate Reserve, Dulcimer Woods, Avalon Oaks, Cantwell Forest, Reserve at Grogan’s Mill and Marion.
The proposed timeline estimates the installation will be complete by November 2019.
“There will be an immediate benefit of more reliable services to residents,” Interim City Administrator Joseph Peart said. “The service also provides speeds up to 1 gigabit per second with a minimum of 500 megabit per second.”
During the March 29 City Council meeting, the council identified that $350,000 for the first phase of the project would be funded out of the available cash and capital project reserves in the fiscal year 2017-18 budget. Peart said funding for the subsequent phases would be determined at the budget workshop for the FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20 budget workshops, typically held annually in August.
The approved contract with the internet provider establishes a maximum of $85 per month for each household and also allows the city to terminate the contract and take ownership of the service if Tachus does not perform to a satisfactory level.
“We are excited to know that in the very near future we will be able to say that all single-family homes in Shenandoah have 1 gig fiber-to-home service available,” Mayor Ritch Wheeler said. “I think we are the first city in the area, and one of the few cities in the country, that will be able to make that statement. That’s exciting for our residents and our future residents.”
Shenandoah city officials have discussed the possibility of providing fiber internet to all single-family homes in the city since 2015, after a survey revealed residents had ongoing problems with existing internet service and expressed a need for a more dependable, high-speed internet service.
“This is a priority because the residents have been unsatisfied with current available services, [citing]slow loading times, dropped connections and unavailability,” Peart said.
In 2016 the city hosted two town hall meetings to further gauge residential interest and created an internet committee, made up of residents and city officials. Tachus was the only provider to respond to a request for qualifications and pricing issues May 2016.
City officials and the committee have been working on contract negotiations with Tachus since late 2016, and in a 4-1 vote the council approved the final agreement for the $1.5 million project on Feb. 14 of this year. Council Member Ron Raymaker voted against the item.