Saratoga Springs residents are one step closer to having what some officials are calling “the fastest internet in the United States” after crews completed the first phase of construction on the Saratoga Springs FiberCity network.
In late May, the city’s Department of Public Works issued a permit for contractors to begin construction, placing fiberoptic microduct and fiberoptic cables 12 inches underground, in the greenspace right-of-way, along Myrtle, Marvin, and Van Rensselaer streets.
Crews from LatLong Infrastructure LLC completed phase-one work on June 20 and will pause efforts allowing for better traffic flow during the summer tourism season, and for city officials to review the latest construction techniques and building methodologies.
“We’re enormously excited to start this amazing project and complete the first phase of the Saratoga Springs FiberCity,” said Robbie Heaps, vice president of quality assurance, environmental, social & corporate governance, for SiFi Networks. “We’ve been working with the community and city leaders for years to make this dream a reality. Saratoga Springs will be the first city in New York state with an all-fiber network and the first Open Access network here, as well,” he added.
He said the all-fiberoptic network will deliver internet speeds up to 10 Gigabits per second—100 times faster than what’s commonly available today—and has the capacity to handle surges in internet traffic, keeping pace with growing demand. The network is designed as an Open Access network, meaning that with one connection, residents and businesses can choose from multiple service providers, bringing sorely-needed competition to the marketplace.
The Saratoga Springs FiberCity network will be made available to every home, business, multifamily building, and institution in the city, virtually eliminating the digital divide. It also has the capacity to power Smart City application and enhanced services for the city.
“In short, the entire community can be an active participant in the digital economy, no one gets left behind,” Heaps said.
During phase-one construction, crews made a narrow incision along the side of the road in the greenspace, laying fiberoptic micro duct in the city’s right-of-way, either behind the curb, or next to the sidewalk. Workers then restored the greenspace, taking extra precautions to protect the city’s beloved trees.
“We worked closely with the city’s arborist to ensure that trees located in the greenspace were not harmed during the construction process. A waterjet machine with a vacuum was used to carefully dig around the root systems, creating an underground pathway for the fiber micro duct to be installed, without disturbing the trees,” said Heaps.
Heaps noted that when phase two of the project gets underway after Labor Day, most of the network will be built in the greenspace right-of-way, with small portions will be constructed underground in the city streets (hardscape) along the edge of the roadway. In these instances, microtrenching machines will be used to cut a narrow incision in the roadway where the fiber cables will be buried. Workers will restore the roadway immediately after installation.
“People tend to be curious when construction happens in their neighborhood. We met with dozens of residents during phase one and provided information about the project and buildout timelines. Our goal is to answer as many questions as folks have including how the network will work and who their providers will be. We want to be as transparent as possible with the community,” said Heaps.
Community members who have questions or want to learn more should contact SiFi Networks’ community relations team at 888-766-9475 or visit www.Saratogaspringsfibercity.com.
“We’ll also be meeting with the community and city leaders this summer to identify which types of Smart City applications they’d like to see deployed in the city. Everything from Smart kiosks, Smart storm water monitoring, Smart lights, parking sensors, traffic sensors, and Smart air quality monitors are examples of technologies that can enhance the quality-of-life in the city. Smart City services increase efficiencies and save energy, but move a lot of data, which is why fiber infrastructure is required to make these services possible. Saratoga Springs is now really well positioned for the future,” noted Heaps.
After the summer tourism season and once all permits and approvals are in hand, a full build out of the project’s phase two will begin with exciting groundbreaking festivities. Heaps anticipates that sections of the network will start going live in the spring of 2023, and completion anticipated in the fall of 2024.
“We couldn’t be happier to be here in Saratoga Springs and to be working with city officials, business leaders and residents,” said Heaps.