Fiber internet options becoming available in Mahomet

Who hasn't cut the cable cord? With streaming services like Hulu and Netflix that provide endless content, many consumers look to quality internet solutions, Mahomet included.

Two area internet providers, Campus Communications Group of Champaign and Volo Broadband of Urbana, are vying for Mahomet residents' business over area competitors Frontier and Mediacom.

Volo Broadband entered the market first with its partnership with Unlimited Construction & Development of Fisher in the contractor's recent development of eight dwellings in the two four-unit town homes along Route 150.

Unlimited Construction & Development also purchased the remaining land in Hunter's Ridge subdivision last year, which will have approximately 80 newly constructed homes once finished.

The contractor wanted to provide fiber internet from Volo Broadband as it promises higher speeds than other area competitors.

"We're grateful for Volo because we're able to access the super-high speed of fiber and provide it to the upcoming residents of Hunter's Ridge," said Jake Frerichs, business manager for Unlimited Construction & Development.

"They had some problems with Mediacom being very slow," added Peter Folk, CEO of Volo Broadband. "We agreed to partner with him on that project and made sure that everyone who moved into his homes has excellent internet options."

Folk had Mahomet on his map for his "long-term plans" and saw the new developments as an opportunity to make his way into the area.

Volo Broadband tapped into a leased line and currently offers fiber internet for residents of the town homes along Route 150 and soon-to-be residents of Hunter's Ridge. Folk hopes to extend the service to Sandy Ridge over the course of the year.

Michael O'Linc, president of Campus Communications Group, also hopes to provide fiber internet to Mahomet residents, but with an entirely different model.

"Unlike Volo, we don't chase HOAs (homeowner associations), we chase cities," said Michael O'Linc, president of Campus Communications Group. "We just purchased fiber that went down (Interstate) 74 so we're jumping in town down 74."

The main difference between leasing a fiber line and having CCG-owned fiber infrastructure, O'Linc said, comes down to control.

"If something gets damaged, we also control our own fiber so we can repair it," O'Linc said. "If you lease it, you're at the whim of when they get it addressed."

Though CCG hasn't officially built its infrastructure in Mahomet, the internet provider looks to do so soon.

"Our sign-up page basically tells me who's interested and I can look at our map that shows me all of the openings that are interested. If I have a higher percentage, I can say there's more bubbles on this neighborhood so that's then one we're going to build next."

Village administrator Patrick Brown views the competition for residential access to fiber internet as only a positive for Mahomet consumers.

"The important part today is how we get consumers wired and other alternatives and more competition and that's what's happening today between Volo and soon CCG," he said.

With the Mahomet-Seymour school district implementing the one-to-one initiative to provide sixth- through 12th-grade students with Chromebooks, many students will need to have access to the internet. Area professionals commuting to Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana for work will also require a reliable connection.

"I had somebody come in here the other day that works for the University of Illinois and they said they've been without internet for about a month," Brown said. "It's getting kind of ridiculous. There's people here in this town that have jobs that rely on the internet. They need the high speed. They need more options."

Both CCG and Volo Broadband encourage residents to express their interest in the fiber internet services by visiting their websites (signup.ccgfiber.com or volo.net/mahomet). By doing so, the internet providers will learn which neighborhoods are interested in their services and consider providing access to the areas.

"We knew this would come up at some point, but now we're going to have at least two more options besides Mediacom and Frontier," Brown said. "It's not going to be immediate. It's not going to be an instant thing. It's going to be over the next couple of years. It's going to reach more people. It's going to be here, and I think people are going to be really happy. People are willing to pay a higher price for consistency and speeds."

*****

How they compare

Price per month:

  • CCG: $70 to $90
  • Volo Broadband: $30 to $60

Speed:

  • CCG: up to 1 gigabyte per second
  • Volo Broadband: up to 1 gigabyte per second

Year business started:

  • CCG: 1994
  • Volo Broadband: 2002

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