Fiber optic infrastructure coming to Roanoke11/05/2013Metronet, Inc., disclosed to the Huntington County Board of Commissioners their desire to develop fiber optic infrastructure to serve the Town of Roanoke. The project involves an investment of over $1 million by the company and will allow virtually all buildings in the Town of Roanoke to benefit from high-speed internet and other telecommunications services via what is known as "fiber to the premises" infrastructure. Evansville-based Metronet, Inc. also serves Connersville, Franklin, Greencastle, Huntington, Lafayette, Lebanon, Madison, New Castle, North Manchester, North Vernon, Seymour, Vincennes and Wabash. Company officials asked the Huntington County Commissioners for an economic development incentive since the effort to serve Roanoke involves nearly 12 miles of infrastructure to even reach the town. Once in the town limits, Metronet intends to bring fiber to the premises for virtually any building in the town. "It potentially impacts every person in the Town of Roanoke," said Mark Wickersham, executive director, Huntington County Economic Development. "Roanoke's economic development strategy is based on destination tourism, retail and other service providers. Given that strategy, basically every house or building in the town could be the next location for a small business," said Wickersham. "The ability to bring unlimited bandwidth and speed to Roanoke creates a tremendous opportunity. Providing additional options for services to existing businesses and residents at competitive prices will help the long-term property values in town, too." Roanoke Town Council Member John Stoeckley encouraged the Commissioners to support the project, saying, "My Huntington location is served by Metronet, and it's been great. The speed of their system allows me to be more efficient with fewer phone lines and is saving my business a substantial amount of money." Rural broadband is an important part of the Northeast Region's Vision 2020 initiative. "Fiber optic infrastructure is as important to businesses as having good roads, water and sewer infrastructure. It leads to growth opportunities," said Wickersham. The Commissioners approved a grant of $200,000 from the county's CEDIT revenues to be paid over 3 years as the company develops the project. CEDIT, an acronym for County Economic Development Income Tax, is collected from Huntington County residents who earn their income working in Huntington County. The rate is .0025% of an individual's wages. The county created the tax in the 1990s with the promise to use the funds as an incentive to create jobs and capital investments that increase the county's tax base and residents' quality of life. Indiana State Law creates the basic requirements for counties to use in adopting an economic development income tax, and the county must then prepare a capital improvement plan, outlining a strategy for using the funds. The County Commissioners control the funds on behalf of the county government. The Metronet project for Roanoke is expected to start yet this year and will be completed by the end of 2015. About Metronet Headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, Metronet is a customer-focused company providing cutting-edge fiber optic communication services, including high-speed Fiber Internet, full-featured Fiber Phone and Fiber IPTV with a wide variety of programming. To learn more, visit metronetinc.com. About Roanoke The quaint town of Roanoke blends tradition and progress, and is one of the fastest growing areas of Huntington County. To learn more, visit discoverroanoke.org.