City of Orange Beach

  • August 28, 2019
  • /   John Mullen
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Island Fiber of Orange Beach, Alabama, is working to get fiber optic internet to homes in the city.

By John Mullen

August 23, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL – (OBA®) – Residents being hooked up with fiber light-speed internet by homegrown Island Fiber are tickled with the results.

“The internet is faster, more reliable,” Realtor Tucker Shaver said. “If we’ve got a question, we speak to someone locally who speaks mostly English and they are super helpful. If we’ve got questions and we’ve got problems we’re not calling a call center that’s confused. We’ve been thrilled with it so far.”

But rather than just bringing the world to Orange Beach with no buffering, Councilman Jerry Johnson says Mickey Frano’s company is doing much more.

“He’s bringing smiles,” Johnson said. “I was at one residence and there were 13 devices up and running at the same time and never lost any speed.”

During the Aug. 20 regular council meeting the city council voted unanimously to give $350,000 to Island Fiber to hire additional crews and speed up the process to get it beyond the handful of homes currently served. It was also announced at the meeting the city would have a townhall session at the Orange Beach Event Center on Oct. 1.

“The agreement that the city is willing to work with Island Fiber that will help him stand up additional crews in order to build out Orange Beach within the timeframe we are talking about,” Johnson said. “It’s an economic development plan to where he can build out every neighborhood in Orange Beach by December of 2020. Whatever neighborhood you’re in he’s coming eventually.”

The city will also pay Island Fiber $1,000 for the first 1,200 homes hooked up to the service.

Island Fiber’s current plan is to head east from Burkhart on the south side of Canal Road and go all the way to Bear Point. Once there it will turn its attention to Bear Point itself where Franco estimates he can the 1,200 to 1,400 homes and lots done within about 90 days.

“He’s not only going to existing homes,” Johnson said. “If there’s an empty lot there will be a fiber connection there. Whenever it sells people buying it will have internet easily installed to the home. That adds a lot of value not only to the city but it adds value to people living here full time. It’s a great opportunity.”

The additional crews will be deployed along State Route 161 and its adjoining neighborhoods and also on Canal Road west of 161 and the its neighborhoods.

“We’ll also be adding crews to hit Cotton Bayou, Marina Road, Terry Cove and West Oak Ridge,” Franco said. “Also, around that same time when those guys get kicked off, we’ll also be on the west side of Canal Road behind the service road going to Lauder Lane and the neighborhoods behind it. That’s where we are right now.”

There are three packages available with 100 megabytes a second costing $65 a month, 200 MB at $99 a month and 300 MB at $150 a month. Custom packages pulling up to a full gig will also be available.

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