Smithville completes seven-year fiber project

By Herald Staff

JASPER — Smithville turned on its final fiberhood in Jasper this month, bringing its $15 million fiber construction project to a close after nearly seven years. This will bring high-speed internet to more than 7,500 homes, businesses and facilities across the city.

“We have gone from basically zero to providing close to 50% of Jasper residents with high-speed fiber,” Melissa Wright, who serves as the Jasper project manager, said in a press release.

The project began in 2015 but was delayed along the way for multiple reasons, including the discovery of bedrock limestone in construction zones and COVID-19 construction restrictions.

Smithville divided the construction segments into 27 “fiberhoods.” The first residential customers on the new Smithville network were turned on in 2016. Unlike some other fiber projects in Indiana, Smithville did not receive any taxpayer or TIF district funds to complete the project.

Jasper Mayor Dean Vonderheide said in the press release that he is aware of several new residents who specifically moved to the city for the high-speed internet availability.

“We in Jasper are grateful that Smithville has made a huge investment in Jasper … especially during the recent COVID-19 lockdown crisis when high-speed broadband availability was critical,” Vonderheide said.

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