Smithville expands in Bloomington, responds to residential customer demand
New expansion into 1,000 Bloomington area homes includes new outreach into affordable housing with special pricing
BLOOMINGTON (Indiana) – Building on the earlier success in responding to customer-driven expansion in the Blue Ridge neighborhood, Smithville is launching new fiber expansion projects in residential developments, apartment buildings and affordable housing in and around Bloomington, according to Darby McCarty, Chairman and CEO.
“Ever since our initial Bloomington area conversion to fiber back in 2008, we’ve received many requests for Smithville to expand its high-speed fiber service in the greater Bloomington area,” said Ms. McCarty. “We’ve been approached by several entities and are pleased to work in conjunction with developers and neighborhood associations to form these mutually beneficial partnerships.”
From apartment units to new developments to established communities, Smithville Fiber is presently involved in five new projects in the Bloomington area, with a number of other requests on-deck. Smithville is developing a new portal site to link to the community expansions at http://bloomington.smithville.com
Earlier in August, Smithville Fiber completed its gigabit fiber service expansion into the Kirkwood (79 units) and Smallwood (224 units) apartment buildings, punching up high-speed broadband availability in the student housing complexes.
“This is the first time IU students have had general access to our premium GigaCity fiber service,” said John Patten, president of Smithville Fiber. “These apartment units feature our GigaCenter symmetrical gigabit service, which is the fastest generally available internet service in greater Bloomington, offering up to 1,000 megabits up and down.”
Smithville also is providing fiber gigabit service into the new Lakes Neighborhood development in southeast Bloomington. “We have a relationship with The Lakes Neighborhood management group to be the preferred provider for all new homes there, and already have multiple customers who are receiving our high-speed gigabit internet and suite of TV and voice services,” said Patten.
The Lakes project is expected to expand over time to about 250 family units, and Smithville plans to offer its fiber business product to companies directly serving The Lakes Neighborhood.
“Smithville Fiber offers the premium high-speed Internet that our customers are demanding,” said Eric Dainton, general manager for Renaissance Rentals. “Our company sets itself apart by being customer-focused and customer-driven, and this focus matches well with the complementary values at Smithville. We’re pleased to have this preferred partnership with another local company that has a recognized national reputation for service and innovation excellence.”
Dainton continued: “The Lakes Neighborhood is shaping up to be one of the premier neighborhoods in Bloomington. For those who are not familiar with it, the neighborhood represents an imagined European village with custom-built homes, high-end rental homes and apartments, retail and dining space, and expansive green space.
“For some people living at the Lakes, Smithville Fiber’s nationally ranked service is the icing on the cake, and for others it’s the most important feature in their new home,” Dainton said.
“Renaissance Rentals is thrilled Smithville will be offering the best Internet service available to 250 family units and retailers in the Lakes Neighborhood.”
In partnership with the community association board, Smithville also is completing final details to begin a fiber overbuild of the neighborhoods in the Winslow Farm community, bringing its high-speed GigaCity fiber technology to more than 410 homes in the existing Bloomington development. Smithville expects to offer its full suite of residential high-speed internet, TV, voice, security and other services to homes there. Engineering bids for the project are underway and Smithville expects to complete the Winslow Farm buildout by late 2017.
“We are very excited about the new levels of service that GigaCity Fiber from Smithville will make available to our community,” said Ted Boardman, president of the Winslow Farm Community Association. “With so many people depending on fast, stable network connectivity in ever increasingly important ways, we expect this to make using those services that much more enjoyable and useful, and potentially add value to our homes.”
Continuing, Boardman noted: “I think we are very fortunate to have fiber to the home service coming, comparable to what Google and other companies offer in other parts of the country, here provided by such a highly ranked, locally owned company. We look forward to getting the word out to our homeowners about this new service.”
As a result of installing new fiber trunk lines, Smithville is partnering with the Bloomington Housing Authority to offer its basic fiber service to the affordable housing project at Walnut Woods. As Smithville moves forward, it will be working to provide basic fiber internet at a reduced price for the affordable housing administered by the Bloomington Housing Authority.
“Smithville Fiber is well-known for its reliable and high-speed broadband service, and we are pleased that Smithville is working to make this important service available to our residents in Walnut Woods,” said Jennifer Osterholt, executive director of the Bloomington Housing Authority. “High-speed broadband represents a critical service for families who use it for education and employment advancement.”
“Smithville has a long history of actively supporting community service projects and charitable groups, and we’ve been exploring how we might be able to offer reduced rate service to affordable housing units like Walnut Woods,” said Patten. “This planned expansion gives us a good opportunity to put some of the ideas we’ve had into motion.”
Closer to its corporate headquarters, Smithville is also working on expanding its award-winning fiber service in Ellettsville. The company is considering the details of expanding service to a planned new 200 homes in the upcoming Greenbriar Meadows development. According to Cullen McCarty, Smithville executive vice president, the company is also “currently assessing demand and other opportunities in the Ellettsville area.”
Patten noted that several other entities in the Bloomington area also have requested that Smithville Fiber consider expanding into their area. “We continue to discuss and evaluate each request very carefully,” the Smithville president said. “We’re grateful for the continued high interest in Smithville Fiber services.”
Ms. McCarty noted that customer demand for Smithville’s premium fiber service increased in the Bloomington area after Smithville completed its high-speed fiber expansion into the Blue Ridge development in the northern part of the city.
“Blue Ridge was our first expansion into the city of Bloomington proper, and it has been a mutual success,” Ms. McCarty said. “The Blue Ridge expansion created a lot of word-of-mouth about how fast and reliable the Smithville fiber service is, which led to many inquiries and subsequent discussions about how we might expand into other parts of the city.”
She pointed out that all of the recent Smithville expansions have been the result of consumer demand and requests. “Our message to Bloomington and other communities is that ‘We heard you, and we’re responding where our resources permit,’” she said.
Smithville recently was recognized as one of the national “Leaders and Innovators” of the broadband industry, again being named a national Top 100 broadband company for the eighth consecutive time. To receive the honor, companies must effectively demonstrate the capacity to “transform local economies or improve communities’ quality of life,” or by “introducing innovative technologies that have game-changing potential,” and provide other outstanding performance factors, according to Masha Zager, editor of Broadband Communities magazine, which sponsors the Top 100 award. Zager noted that Smithville “has consistently demonstrated its commitment to fiber-based innovation and transformation.”
Smithville, which began using the brand name Smithville Fiber in 2015 to reflect its long-term commitment to a 21st century fiber platform, is a fiber-optics industry pioneer in Indiana. It began a multi-year $100 million major system fiber overbuild of its older telephone customer base in 2008, and has since developed a number of privately financed new fiber installations in Jasper and elsewhere. These newer private developments deploy advanced fiber technology that allows the full capacity of a gigabit of connectivity to both residents and businesses.
Smithville Fiber operates high-speed fiber broadband service to residential areas and to Indiana-certified technology parks, hospitals, manufacturers, financial institutions, municipalities, large non-for-profit organizations, and school systems.