Stutsman Supports Extension of Fiber-Optic Network to Goshen

Says high-speed technology is a “game changer”

Goshen mayoral candidate Jeremy Stutsman has announced his support for the extension of the St. Joe Valley Metronet into Elkhart County. The recent plan was developed for the Indiana Regional Cities program and is being touted as one of the “marquee projects” for north central Indiana. Metronet’s proposal calls for extending the network into Elkhart County, including the cities of Goshen and Elkhart.

Stutsman says the Metronet fiber-optic infrastructure will encourage economic development by providing low-cost/high-speed connectivity with unlimited bandwidth. Stutsman considers the technology essential to all businesses, schools, healthcare organizations and government institutions. He also sees the Metronet as a critical component of attracting new jobs to “Affordable, high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury item,” says Stutsman.

“This is vital infrastructure that we must have if we are to attract and retain high-wage jobs. This technology will help cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit of Goshen and allow us to better attract talent, as well as be more competitive on a global scale.”

Local entrepreneur Eric Kanagy, owner of the Goshen-based technology startup RedPost, agrees with Stutsman. Kanagy believes that fiber optic will be a competitive advantage to organizations like his that are seeking both ease and speed in digital communication.

“We need Metronet in Goshen,” comments Kanagy. “Productivity is critical for RedPost, so it’s important for us not to have to worry about bandwidth. Faster Internet also helps us compete Candidate Stutsman says the state-of-the-art fiber network will be a game changer for Goshen that needs to happen. He cautions, however, that the Metronet expansion must be a public/private partnership and part of a countywide effort. Stutsman says a collaborative strategy is the approach he will use as Goshen’s new mayor starting in January.

Stutsman emphasizes that Goshen should not pursue this initiative on its own. “This is a regional economic development opportunity that requires multiple partners,” says Stutsman.

“My administration will seek to build a coalition to bring Metronet to Elkhart County, including Joe Mehl, Democrat candidate for Goshen City Council on the city’s west side and a website and digital marketing consultant, adds his support to the Metronet expansion. “Historically and geographically, cities that thrived were next to waterways, excellent highways and railroads,” says Mehl. “While all of those means to transport goods are still important, high-speed broadband is a must for an economy built on the flow of information at a high rate of speed. The current broadband speeds simply don’t ‘cut it’ in maintaining high-tech jobs.”

Under the proposed plan endorsed by Stutsman, the cost of expanding Metronet to serve Elkhart County would be funded through a combination of local, state and private sources. Metronet’s expansion into Elkhart County will involve the installation of new conduit and fiber starting from St. Joseph County, Indiana. The Metronet dark-fiber network already extends 100-plus miles and serves more than 150 subscribers in St. Joe County.

It was announced in 2013 that the network would be extended 33 miles to serve Marshall County, including Plymouth. That expansion was completed in 2014.

Metronet subscribers have access to unlimited bandwidth and unlimited speed while being able to choose from a network of vendors providing services at competitive prices.

See how the Metronet could work in Goshen and how it has helped South Bend.

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