The city of Lexington, KY announced it is now designated as a “Gigabit City” due to the efforts over the last 2.5 years of MetroNet. The fiber optic network company has been laying 4.4 million feet of fiber in neighborhoods across the city. That status is defined by having fiber-optic cables throughout a city, making gigabit internet access available to all in an effort to help close the digital divide.
Chattanooga, TN was the first to achieve this status, followed by Lafayette, LA and other smaller cities. Lexington, with double Chattanooga’s population, is the largest U.S. city with a complete fiber-optic network offering gigabit speeds to residents and businesses, according to the city.
Former Mayor Jim Gray set a goal to make Lexington a Gigabit City in 2017, and MetroNet followed up by submitting a proposal to invest up to $100 million to bring ultrafast internet, television and telephone services to residents and businesses via fiber cables. The following year, Gray and MetroNet executives officially cut the ribbon to activate Lexington, marking the official start of services and the opening of MetroNet’s retail storefront.
Upon her election, Mayor Linda Gorton embraced MetroNet’s investment, saying in her inaugural speech that fiber was a key part of her economic-development vision to become a technological hub and to help Lexington companies grow. “A citywide fiber network gives Lexington a competitive advantage, as we work to attract and grow jobs,” Gorton said. “MetroNet’s enormous investment in our City is an investment in a brighter future for our citizens.” MetroNet now serves tens of thousands of residential and business customers in Lexington, and has expanded construction to neighboring communities in Nicholasville, Versailles, and further south to Richmond.
MetroNet is also actively involved in the community through the Metro C.A.T.S. program, a collaboration with the City of Lexington, the University of Kentucky, and Lexington Traditional Magnet School, providing gigabit internet service, computers and technology classes for kids at the Charles Young Community Center in Lexington’s East End neighborhood.