Diversity & Inclusion

Georgetown is about to get ‘warp speed’ internet access

Broad Valley's fiber ring around the town is almost complete.

Laying fiber. (Photo by Flickr user Kenny Holston, used under a Creative Commons license)

The fiber ring around Georgetown is almost complete, and Sussex County government is already using dark fiber for its own network.
“We’re going warp speed,” said Dick Beville, the general manager for Broad Valley, the company installing the ring. He said he expects the ring — about 10 miles’ worth of fiber optics — to be completed by April.
Beville called the fiber internet “unbelievably good. There’s no such thing as busy hours or times when people use internet or shared service,” he said, saying that using fiber is like driving on a massive highway where everyone has their own lane.
“Little Georgetown, Delaware, has the most reliable, most secure network, probably in the world,” Beville said.
The whole venture has been privately funded by Broad Valley, Beville said, with the company confident they’ll make the money back by selling fiber access to small businesses and the county government.
“There are about 60 small businesses we’ve identified that would be good prospects, and we’ve talked to about 40 of them already,” he said. “Every one of them is not delighted with their current service provider — 100 percent were interested.”
Here’s how the fiber is actually set up: It’s all two to three feet underground, and in some cases, even deeper. Beville said there were four instances where his crew had to dig six to 10 feet to get under railroad tracks. The fiber itself is cased in hard plastic tubes called innerducts, and the ring includes two innerducts, each containing 144 strands of fiber. For the uninitiated, that’s a heck of a lot of broadband. “One individual fiber can carry a whole bunch of stuff,” Beville said.
He said Broad Valley is looking at possible WiFi solutions for residents who want better broadband.
And the company is looking to expand its fiber network in Delaware, or as Beville says, “island hop.” (Georgetown being the isolated island.)
He said he’s been in talks with other towns, including Seaford, about connecting to Georgetown’s fiber ring. “We have to figure out the best way to do a similar thing in Dover and Milford and tie them together,” he said.

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