Internet company Metronet will start working in October to bring services to New Bern.
High-speed fiber-optic internet company Metronet is expected to begin infrastructure work to bring its services to New Bern from October and expects to have new customers on its system as early as March or April 2022, according to the. Interim New Bern City Manager Foster Hughes. .
In March, the New Bern City Council of Aldermen announced that the city was in talks with Metronet to offer an alternative to Suddenlink, Craven County‘s main internet provider. The following month, Council approved a request for the City to negotiate and sign an agreement with Metronet. The deal allows both sides to sort out permit issues, easement plans and questions about what Metronet is willing to offer in the region. Under state law, the City will have no authority to regulate or control Metronet’s services.
“When they get there they’re going to hit the ground and they’re going to really roll,” said Hughes.
Services offered by Metronet include video service up to 240 channels, fiber optic telephone with up to 17 different calling features, fiber optic internet and wireless telephone network.
According to Charles Bauschard, Director of Utilities, Metronet services will also be offered in River Bend, Trent Woods, Bridgeton and other areas served by New Bern City utilities.
Public services and public works departments will play a role in the Internet project
Bauschard pointed out that while the City of New Bern will not own, build or operate any part of the Metronet system, the company has the legal right to use city easements and rights of way to provide services. Bauschard said the work will have a significant impact on the city’s utility and public works operations and potentially affect all of the city’s public easements, rights-of-way and private land plots.
Bauschard predicted a project duration of two to three years. He said he expected a “massive volume of construction activity happening simultaneously and spread across the city,” once construction began in October.
“They want to go fast, they want to install the project and get out of here and connect the customers as fast as possible,” Bauschard said.
The work will include around 20 aerial crews as well as workers installing underground lines. Bauschard estimated that 55% of the Metronet system will be overhead and 45% underground.
“They don’t want to clutter up neighborhoods with so much construction that it’s hard for people to get in and out, but they also don’t want it to look like one neighborhood connects before another,” he said. said Bauschard. “So I think their plan is to be spread out as much as possible. They will be everywhere in our service territory.
Bauschard said city staff held a June 2 kick-off meeting with Metronet management to discuss their concept plans. The city is developing support plans and cost assessments and identifying the resources it will need for staff levels, equipment and supplies, he explained.
Metronet plans to make a presentation to the Alderman Council on August 24 to discuss their marketing and service plans.