The small seaside community of Lewes, Delaware, is considering investing in a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Internet network for connectivity to its 3,000 inhabitants.
According to the Lewes Board of Public Works (BPW) General Manager Darrin Gordon, the city electric utility has a plan to connect to Fibertech Networks infrastructure, which reaches Lewes. Fibertech obtained a $1 million state grant in 2015 to expand its infrastructure in rural areas of Delaware.
BPW has been investigating the possibility of bringing high-quality Internet access to households and businesses for a while now. The BPW plan envisions a publicly owned network that connects to the Fibertech network and extends throughout Lewes that will be deployed in four phases. "The rolling deployment will help recover costs and help with funding the next phases," Gordon said.
"We want to take it slow to ensure that whoever does take the service that it's the very best and everything we promised it was going to be," Gordon said. "We know that word of mouth around here can be the saving grace or the death knell."
BPW anticipates that the first phase could be finished as soon as four to five months from commencement and the second phase two months later. The first two phases will be aerial deployment with later phases consisting of underground plant.
The city is working with a consultant to estimate a final cost to make the investment and to determine what residents and businesses would pay for the service. BPW will survey customers to obtain a better idea of the amount of interest before moving forward.
Lewes describes itself as “the first town in the first state,” having started as a trading post by Dutch settlers in 1631. The community changed names and hands several times between the English and the Dutch; William Penn and gave it the name “Lewes” in 1682 and it’s kept the name ever since.
The town is a popular vacation and resort town for Washington D.C. residents. In addition to its location along the Atlantic, the town’s historic character draws tourists. It has a Fisherman’s Wharf and multiple museums.
Most of the community has access to DSL service through Verizon, while Comcast is available in some areas.