Farmington Hills neighborhood hosts fiber internet pilot

One Farmington Hills neighborhood is getting a taste of higher internet speeds facilitated by a Southfield company’s fiber network.

The 123NET pilot program launched last month in neighborhoods south of 13 Mile and west of Orchard Lake Road. They’ll be the first residential customers with access to Home Fiber Internet, which promises “symmetrical speeds that are 100X faster than Comcast and AT&T.”

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Jon Aldred for Farmington Hills City Council

The company owns its network and has provided fiber to businesses for almost 30 years.

“123NET’s mission is building network to make Michigan communities and businesses the best connected on the planet,” chief technology officer Ryan Duda said in a press release. “We want to make outdated cable and DSL internet a thing of the past by providing a new standard for internet performance to Michigan residents.”

Residents request fiber

The Farmington Hills pilot program largely resulted from the efforts of residents who knew that 123NET had fiber in the area and understood its potential benefits to homeowners.

Justin Lampman, 123NET’s director of network operations, said the company then conducted a feasibility study “to ensure the pilot would deliver the performance and service advantages in a way that was financially viable for both residents and 123NET.”

“We’re thrilled to be moving forward and launching this program,” he added.

Farmington area residents have long complained about the community’s limited number of internet providers. Last month, Farmington and Farmington Hills officials approved a permit application that will facilitate a community-wide fiber network.

F2H joins FiberCity

As part of its FiberCity program, SiFi Networks will build–and pay for–a $100 million, open broadband network across both cities. Once the network is in, multiple providers can use it to deliver their services.

The deal emerged from the work of a Municipal Broadband Task Force (now the Municipal Broadband Committee), formed in 2018. Farmington mayor pro tem Joe LaRussa, a committee member, said 123NET provided helpful information during the group’s early research.

“I’d like to think our prior discussions with them raised their interest level in pursuing residential service, and the pilot program they’re announcing,” he said. “I know there are other commission members who feel this pilot is a direct result of those discussions. Either way, they’ve clearly analyzed the market and determined it’s worth the investment to test it out.”

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