• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

MetroNet is coming … and already in schools

If you’ve seen trucks labeled “MetroNet” or “Contractor for MetroNet” or little red flags sticking up out of the ground, you’re in good company: several crews are in Versailles, laying the groundwork for the company’s high-speed internet, phone and cable television services. Though the company isn’t yet offering service to local residences and businesses, it already has customers here: the Woodford County Public School district, which uses MetroNet for its internal WAN (wide area network) system, used to transmit data between schools and the district office, according to Bob Gibson, the district’s chief information officer. (The district has a different, state-negotiated internet provider, Gibson said.) “I’d say we’re early in what we call the ‘build’ of the Versailles market,” said Keith Leonhardt, MetroNet’s vice president of customer experience. “We will be working throughout the summer and probably until the early fall. When we install this type of equipment, we cover a lot of ground – I mean, think of us going up and down every street, every neighborhood, to build our system. We literally have to install every foot of your community, so it takes a while.” Leonhardt said when the crews finish a neighborhood, they “activate them” and can begin adding new customers while continuing to build out the rest of the community. Details can be found at metronetinc.com and selecting the “Construction Updates” tab, which shows a street-level map of the areas where MetroNet is currently building, planning to build and, eventually, finished building. “They can literally zoom in to the street level and locate their neighborhood and check the status,” Leonhardt said. That page notes, “Residents will see a series of messages before construction activity begins in their neighborhood, including a letter, postcard, and yard marker. Next, they will see crews identifying underground utilities and marking their locations with temporary paint. In the days following this, MetroNet contractor teams will begin constructing our 100 percent fiber optic network. Rest assured, the construction phase is temporary. We’ll do our best to minimize any impact to your property as we work within the utility easement areas.” Service to residential and business customers should be available by early spring, Leonhardt said. Leonhardt said the company tries not to surprise anyone. “Everyone should have received a number of pieces, both in their mailboxes as well as small flags in their yard, to alert them as construction starts through there,” he said. “Because the build will go throughout the summer, there are probably many, many residents in Versailles that haven’t received those notifications yet, but we try to start to notify them about 30 days in advance …” Leonhardt said the company uses existing power lines. “If their power comes on aerial lines overhead, we’ll follow those. If they’re buried, we follow that as well, but we will do our best to stay within the easements, where we’re granted the access through permits …” he said. Metronet touts the high speeds of its internet service, made possible by fiber optic cable. Asked if having a third internet provider to compete with Spectrum and Windstream will force the latter two to raise their game – or lower their rates – Leonhardt said, “We always respect our competitors in every way, and that is often an outcome. … We go into a community, and while, certainly, we want to win every customer … competition always makes everybody better. They’ll provide better service, they’ll provide better pricing, they’ll be more responsive …”

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