In 1998, HG&E constructed a fiber optic network in order to serve its utility needs, as well as to provide high speed internet service to Holyoke's public schools and municipal buildings. As a natural extension of this business model, HG&E began serving commercial customers that were located along the fiber network path. Today, HG&E, through HGE.Net, continues to provide high speed internet services to business customers.
Making a fiber connection from the existing fiber network to a home or business can cost several thousand dollars. This connection is referred to as the “last-mile”. Larger businesses are able to spread the installation costs over several months and will sign a three year service contract in return. While a major extension of HG&E's fiber network would make last-mile costs more manageable, HG&E would be required to make a significant capital investment to extend the current network.
Locally, there are municipal utilities that are providing fiber service to residential customers; this is referred to as Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH). These residential services include internet bandwidth and, in some cases, an option for phone service. Cable television (CATV) services are not provided by area municipalities constructing FTTH networks. Similarly, HG&E has no plans of providing CATV services through any potential FTTH offerings. Customers who subscribe to service would “cut the cord” and stream their TV entertainment over the Internet.
HG&E has been evaluating a broader build-out to serve the residential sector, similar to other area municipal projects. Preliminary estimates indicate that a City-wide network build-out could cost upwards of $30 million. Each community can have significantly different factors that impact construction cost, operating expenses, and demand for a municipal internet service; therefore, HG&E is taking a deliberate and thoughtful approach to the FTTH evaluation.
Residential Fiber Interest Form
HG&E is in the process of studying the feasibility of a gradual roll-out of FTTH services within Holyoke. We are asking customers to complete an interest form in order to gauge community interest. This is the next step in HG&E's most recent assessment strategy. Please note, indicating interest is simply for research purposes, as HG&E does not have plans to roll out FTTH at this time.
HG&E's mission is to provide competitive rates, innovative and sustainable energy solutions, reliable service, and excellent customer care to customers. Taking the time to fully understand the impact of a potential FTTH build is critical to meeting our mission to you, our customer. We remain committed to being responsive customer needs. For more information, please contact us or see our FTTH frequently asked questions.