Fully wired: Quad-Cities embraces fiber-optic speeds

Moline is the latest city to partner with Metronet for a city-wide network.
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 9:29 AM CST
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QUAD-CITIES, Iowa and Ill. (KWQC) - Fully fiber-optic high-speed internet will soon be available to most of the Quad-Cities.

Each city has now approved deals with Metronet, an Indiana-based internet-service provider, to lay its fiber-optic network throughout town.

Community-wide fiber optics has been a goal in the Quad-Cities for years.

Metronet has already laid 1,300 miles of cable in Davenport and Bettendorf. Moline, East Moline and Rock Island struck deals with the company in the past three months and expect to have access over the next year.

Under the arrangements, Metronet builds all the infrastructure, at no cost to taxpayers. But it’s not free to use – you must still subscribe, with residential packages ranging from $50 to $110 a month. That buys symmetrical speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second.

The company installs cable either underground or by overhead wire, with fiber to the premises. Once the cable is laid in your neighborhood, residents and businesses will have access to the service.

“We go fiber 100% all the way,” said Craig Zimmerman, a Metronet regional market manager. “It’s one of the biggest advantages because of the speed fiber allows you to deliver.”

Metronet is not the only ISP in the region. Residents are free to keep their current provider. But Moline officials say Metronet brings strong competition to the market.

Moline was the most recent in the metro Quad-Cities to make an arrangement with Metronet.

“Since 2021 … the City Council has sought to fulfill the desire of many residents for a second broadband provider in the city,” said Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati. “We are pleased to have been able to deliver on that strategic goal and look forward to a collaborative partnership with Metronet going forward.”

Earlier this month, the city announced Metronet as its city-wide broadband provider after soliciting proposals from five companies. In the final running was Geneseo Communications, whose bid required the city to pay at least $10 million to install. Metronet’s no-cost option swayed city officials.

“It just makes sense. I mean when you really stop and think about it, everyone is using the same carrier for this massive, massive fiber network here in the Quad-Cities,” said Bob Vitas, Moline’s city administrator. “It could have been anyone; it just happens to be Metronet based on their business model, their approach and their growth plans as a company.”