Press Releases

York County Council, Lit Fiber – York to deliver high-speed broadband internet service in York

February 22, 2023

Posted by: Shriya Raban

Julie Wheeler of York County

York County Council has finalised an agreement with Lit Fiber – York, a subsidiary of Lit Communities based out of Birmingham, AL that will provide high-speed broadband internet service through underserved and unserved areas of rural York County and then eventually through the city itself.

The total project will ultimately utilise up to 3,125 miles of aerial and underground fibre optic cable that will feed off a 333-mile middle-mile network to provide last-mile service to communities where customer density has not been high enough to justify private capital investment in such service expansion.

That will begin with 26 miles already installed underneath the York Heritage Rail Trail including the communities of Seven ValleysGlen RockRailroad, and New Freedom which was completed using CARES Act funding. This initial project will enable fibre connectivity to approximately 3,000 locations. A county-owned middle-mile network covering 144 miles across much of Southern York County will follow, which will enable fibre connectivity to approximately 100,000 locations. The middle mile network, YoCo Fiber, is planned to eventually extend up to 333 miles and enable fibre connectivity to approximately 225,000 locations.

Lit Communities launched this project in July 2021 to partner with York County leaders on the estimated $285 million (€267.48 million) project to design and guide the construction of the first two phases. Another new Lit Communities affiliate Lit Fiber – York will serve as the internet service provider (ISP) when service begins rolling out in the 4th quarter of 2023. The initial project is expected to be completed in 2 years with the other expansions working in parallel.

York County Commissioners have approved using up to $25 million (€23.46 million) in federal American Rescue Plan Act infrastructure funds with the rest of the funding coming from revenue sharing, other public sources of funding, and private investment by Lit Communities and its partners.

“We are very excited about this partnership,” says Brian Snider, CEO of Lit Communities. “We are taking steps to close the digital divide in this area of the country by providing fibre internet services. This network will provide access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet in homes for social and economic activities like remote work, running a business, accessing government services, online banking, education, workforce and local economic development.”

York County executive director information technology / CIO Joe Sassano echoed the sentiment, “York County is advancing access to affordable, reliable high-speed broadband services with this partnership.”

High-speed broadband service is essential for both economic development, existing businesses, and daily life, including learning, entertainment, shopping, healthcare, and the growing number of people who work at home. The county’s middle-mile network also will connect 285 anchor institutions including fire, police, and EMS stations, 911 towers, and schools.

“We’re excited to reach this important step toward providing must-have broadband internet to the one-fourth of our county residents who lack such access,” says York County president commissioner Julie Wheeler. “We’ll also eventually be adding yet another quality option for those residents in areas that also enjoy the benefits of competition among several other ISPs.”

Lit Communities is a Birmingham, AL-based provider of broadband infrastructure that guides communities through the research, planning, and installation of fibre networks. Veteran telecommunications executive and longtime Central PA resident Mike Zody has been hired as the market president for the Lit Fiber – York.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter @IoTGN