Fort Worth to build 300-mile fiber-optic internet network

Fort Worth to build 300-mile fiber-optic internet network

Fort Worth utility crews install Wi-Fi routers in Rosemont. The city is rolling out a fiber optic network that will make high speed internet more available.

Fort Worth utility crews install Wi-Fi routers in Rosemont. The city is rolling out a fiber optic network that will make high speed internet more available.

City of Fort Worth

It’s about to get a lot easier to get high speed internet in Fort Worth.

Dallas-based Sprocket Networks is about to begin work on a roughly 300-mile fiber optic cable network that will extend high-speed internet to areas of the city where it’s not already readily available.

The Fort Worth City Council approved a $7.5 million contract in October 2023 to have Sprocket build and operate the network for 34 years, according to city documents. The work is being paid for with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, and a grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

The city also plans to pay Sprocket for maintenance and exclusive use of the network for a period of 34 years, according to the city’s contract. Fort Worth will pay roughly $3.6 million per year for usage rights and $134,415 annually for maintenance and operation.

The total contract is expected to cost $125.8 million, according to city documents.

It’s not clear exactly which neighborhoods will get access to the network first. The city has set up a website for the so-called “Fort Worth Fiber” network where residents can sign up for the wait list.

“We believe that everyone should have access to affordable, high-speed internet, and we are committed to bridging the digital divide in our community,” said Sprocket Networks president Will Gibson in a city press release.

Mayor Mattie Parker pointed to the importance of high speed internet to increasing economic opportunity and closing the digital divide between the haves and have-nots.

“The internet is essential for education, employment and economic development, and we are grateful for Sprocket Networks’ investment in our city,” Parker said in the press release.

Fiber optic internet uses glass cables and light to send data up to five times faster than the best high-speed cable internet network.

Sprocket Networks’s most expensive plan is $50 per month and offers user 1 gigabyte of upload and download speeds, according to its website. That’s enough power to download a two hour movie in 10 seconds, and can support as many as 10 devices at once without slowing down.

Prices for plans on the network will range from $30 to $195 per month, according to the city’s contract. The $195 per month plan will cover internet speeds of up to 8 gigabytes.

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Harrison Mantas has covered the city of Fort Worth’s government, agencies and people since September 2021. He likes to live tweet city hall meetings, and help his fellow Fort Worthians figure out what’s going on.