WG&E ramps up Whip City Fiber Optics expansion

WESTFIELD – Westfield Gas and Electric (WG&E) announced the expansion of the Whip City Fiber Optics Network. WG&E launched the pilot gigabit Internet service in October, which immediately caught the attention of customers.
WG&E launched a new website www.whipcityfiber.com at noon on Friday. The fiber optic network offers a speed of light Internet connection into homes and businesses.
When compared to traditional cable or dial-up Internet service, a single strand of fiber can deliver 1,000 times as much information as a copper-based cable. The new service means enhanced download times and better live streaming of video, music, photos and other digital content.
WG&E General Manager Dan Howard said the pilot program confirmed a strong demand for a robust fiber optic Internet service. He said fiber optic lines offer a continuous streaming while traditional copper or coaxial cables can experience a degradation or a slowed down electrical signal.
A fiber optic strand is a thin piece of glass that transmits light waves at 186,000 miles per second.
“The distribution of the signal is guided by the electronics on both ends, whether it’s the customer or the Internet service provider,” he said.
Whip City Fiber is offering the monthly service at $69.95, which includes free Wi-Fi installation.
The initial pilot website generated a significance amount of responses from residential and business customers interested in the service. The new website offers more information about the service and expansion.
The Municipal Light Board (MLB) approved expanding the service to 1,500 potential customers in 2016. The demand for the service and where that demand is coming from will dictate the growth over the coming months.
“The website is an important medium we will be using to gauge that,” said Howard. “Providing the wishes and responses to the service is what we anticipate it being, we will continue beyond 2016.”
After the launch in October 2015, WG&E began to assemble data and construct a business plan for review by the MLB. WG&E will conduct a further review at year’s end and make adjustments to the rollout.
He added customers will be able to tap into live streaming services like Hulu and Google Chromecast.
“This gives the customer, with the bandwidth available, options to their current cable TV programming,” he said. “The service we’re providing at the speeds we’re providing gives people many options in streaming video or phone service that they choose.”
“WG&E is committed to bringing the same high level of service, reliability, and competitive pricing to our new high-speed internet customers that our electric and natural gas customers are accustomed to receiving,” MLB Chairman Thomas Flaherty said in a statement. “It’s another added-value service that our locally owned and operated utility can provide to the community.”

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