After launching fiber-to-the-premise projects in Davenport, Bettendorf, and Ames Iowa during the past year, Metronet Fibernet LLC is expanding to the Des Moines metro area.
At their August 11, 2020 meeting the Urbandale City Council approved a letter agreement with Metronet that commits the Indiana-based telecommunications company to building a fiber network to serve not less than 90% of Urbandale that isn't already served by fiber. The City is providing Metronet with accelerated permitting for Metronet, permission to attach to exisiting poles, and installation of new poles where needed. The agreement indicates that Metronet will bury fiber lines in areas where the electric service is already underground.
While Urbandale (population 44,379 according to 2019 estimates) is the first Des Moines metro suburb to attract Metronet, it may not be the last. It is reported to be eyeing at least two other suburbs for the coming year, although agreements have not been announced. Metronet has also announced that it intends to serve Nevada, Iowa (east of Ames) and LeClaire, Iowa (north of Bettendorf) as extensions of their larger projects there.
Although Metronet does not seek significant public investment from the communities in its expansion plan, there have been concerns raised about its coverage area. For example in Ames Metronet is not building in some areas of the city due to lack of financial return. The 90% commitment in Urbandale is higher than the approximately 70% coverage intention in Ames.
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