40 miles of higher-speed internet wiring coming soon to Chandler - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

40 miles of higher-speed internet wiring coming soon to Chandler

August 29th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
40 miles of higher-speed internet wiring coming soon to Chandler

By Ken Sain
 Managing Editor

Dennis Aust, Chandler’s telecommunications and public utility service manager, said two things that seemed to contradict one another.

First, about 90% of the city’s residents live in an area that is wired for fiber optic service. Then, he said that only about 20% are eligible for that service.

“The 90% is fiber-to-the-node,” Aust said. “Only 15-to-20% have fiber-to-the-home.”

That means of the eight companies offering fiber optic internet service in Chandler , only two have spent a lot of money to build the infrastructure to put fiber optic boxes in most neighborhoods. It will take a lot more money to get a line to every home in those neighborhoods.

Fiber optics is an alternative to cable, DSL or satellite for internet service. It tends to be more reliable, offers faster speeds and costs more.

Chandler City Council took action on Aug. 18 to improve the fiber optic options for residents, approving an agreement with Wyyerd Fiber to install 40 miles of fiber optic lines in the city.

Where they will put those lines is still being decided.

“We want to do deep-dive research, find out where is there no fiber now,” said Jennifer Rogers, the director of expansion for Wyyerd. “We’ll look at the areas that have the biggest broadband constraints. We start there. But, one of the most important steps is we ask residents. We have a survey that goes out that helps us pinpoint where we should build.”

A copy of the survey is on the company’s website, wyyerd.com. Rogers said residents can also call, or email Wyyerd.

Wyyerd Fiber is joining a crowded field offering fiber optic service in Chandler. Cox Communications and Century Link Communications are currently the major fiber-to-the-home players, Aust said.

“The two incumbents don’t always overlap; you have one or the other,” he said. “They tend to work around each other.”

The other six companies often lease the lines from others, including Cox and CenturyLink, which have the largest fiber networks in Chandler.  Those companies are Alluvian, Crown Castle, MCI (Verizon’s company), TCA (AT&T’s company), and Zayo. Salt River Project is the eighth. They installed some lines for their own use, but sometimes lease it to others, Aust said.

Rogers said Wyyerd was started in Colorado in 2017 and bought out a West Valley company, Zona Communications, in 2019. Rogers said the company isn’t trying to compete with the others.

“We’re not a competitor; we’re an alternative,” Rogers said. “We’re not coming in to take anybody out.”

Rogers said the lines Wyyerd will be putting down in Chandler are better than the existing ones.

“Even though the fiber is in, it’s an older technology,” she said. “What we’re bringing in is the latest and greatest. We’ll be able to offer up to 2 gigs of up and down speed.”

That’s 2 gigabytes of both download and upload speed. That’s a huge improvement over the marketplace standard of 100 megabytes for download and 20 megabytes for uploads.

Rogers said that’s just a start. She said the lines they plan to build in Chandler should be able to handle up to 10 gigabytes up and down without needing to be replaced, when the technology reaches that point.

“Most people don’t need that kind of speed now, but we’re looking to the future and people are only going to rely on the internet more,” she said.

Wyyerd’s plan to join the Chandler market has already had a positive impact for consumers.

“We’re seeing that already,” Aust said, nothing that Cox just upgraded their speeds for existing customers that were paying for slower speeds, free of charge.”With a new competitor getting ready to offer service, it’s unclear if the others will speed up plans to get those fiber optic lines from the nodes to homes a little sooner.