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Mayor John Hamilton Seeks Citywide Fiber Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2016

For more information, please contact:
Mary Catherine Carmichael, Communications Director, 812.349.2679, carmichm@bloomington.in.gov

Mayor John Hamilton Seeks Citywide Fiber Network

Bloomington, Ind. - A community-wide fiber network remains Mayor John Hamilton's goal for Bloomington, in light of Smithville Fiber's recently announced plan to explore fiber service with 1,600 homes in the southeast part of the city. The proposal reflects investment in better digital connectivity for some Bloomington residents, but it is not the community-wide expansion Mayor John Hamilton believes is critical to Bloomington's future.

Mayor Hamilton commented on the announcement, "Throughout my campaign for mayor, I stressed the importance of having fiber access in Bloomington. We need it for education, for healthcare, for businesses of all types to compete in the 21st century, and to keep Bloomington one of the most attractive places to live and work. I believe those community-wide discussions may have prompted Smithville to move quickly on plans to offer fiber in more areas; and there are some positive aspects of that -- private investment is good and shows that the business community recognizes the importance of fiber for our community."

"The concerning part of this announcement is where it stops. It stops far short of the community-wide fiber access we need. The majority areas that Smithville's proposal targets are among our wealthier neighborhoods. But a proposal like this leaves behind the lower-income areas of Bloomington. By 'cherry picking' the wealthier areas of the community in which to provide fiber, it becomes less feasible for anyone seeking to provide equitable, city-wide fiber. We shouldn't make the 21st century equivalent to electricity available only to some of our residents. Everyone and every business should have access to fiber optic broadband, period."

"Smithville has been part of discussions with the City for months now, and we have always promoted the city-wide, leave-no-household-behind model. I am disappointed to see this announcement that, while perhaps attractive to some of our more prosperous neighborhoods, will make ubiquitous fiber access more challenging to provide to every neighborhood. This plan could worsen the digital divide in our community," said Hamilton. "Smithville is a great local company, and I plan to continue to work together with them and other providers to find an approach that makes fiber available to everyone in Bloomington."

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