Mayor Jim Gray says Lexington to become a “gigabit city”

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Mayor Jim Gray announced Tuesday the city has entered into an agreement to build a fiber-optic network in Lexington.

In a press release, the city says Indiana-based Metronet plans to start building its fiber-optic network in January and hopes that, in the summer of 2018, the first Lexington residents and businesses will be able to start receiving internet access, television packages, and phone service over fiber-optic cables, which carry data at gigabit speeds, or 1,000 megabits per second.

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Gigabit cities are those with fiber-optic networks that cover the city, rather than just certain neighborhoods. Currently, Chattanooga, Tennessee is the nation’s only gigabit city, and Huntsville, Alabama is on track to be the second.

The city says Metronet will pay about $70 million to build the fiber-optic network.

The hope is by transforming Lexington into a gigabit city with ultrafast internet access, it will attract high-tech businesses and jobs.

Tuesday, the Urban County Council is expected to vote to put a cable franchise on the docket for Thursday’s council meeting.

According to the city, a franchise agreement with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County government is required before a telecommunications company or utility can begin work in the city’s right-of-way, where telephone poles and underground utilities are located.

Metronet plans to build throughout Lexington’s urban services boundary, and may move beyond that boundary.