Monday, August 08, 2022

Commissioner: ‘SiFi’s Public Interaction was Great and the Installation was a Success’


(Saratoga Springs, NY…..August 8, 2022) One month after SiFi Networks completed construction on the latest phase of Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® project, the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) confirmed today that the construction methodologies used in the greenspace public right-of-way met the department’s stringent standards.  Once complete the $32 million project will see fiber infrastructure available to every household, business, and institution citywide. The first homes on the network are slated to go-live this winter.

DPW Commissioner Jason Golub said that so far, the city has been pleased with the network’s greenspace construction methodologies:  “Installing in the greenspace with other utilities is a less invasive construction methodology. SiFi has assured us that they will be working with residents to communicate any issues during construction. Throughout the recently completed phase, SiFi’s public interaction was great and the installation was a success. Only a few weeks have passed and you would hardly notice there was construction.”

Residents Happy with Green Space Construction

In green space construction, a narrow incision is dug either behind the curb or sidewalk to lay conduit that houses fiber cables. Underground radar and water jets are used in the process to avoid harming tree roots during construction. Residents along Myrtle, Marvin, and Van Rensselaer Streets who experienced firsthand what green space construction entails, told officials that they were pleased.

“We took great care to replant grass, place fiber conduit under driveway pavers, and to avoid tree roots in the construction process,” said Robert Heaps, Corporate Vice President for SiFi Networks. “During construction, our team of community relations professionals went door-to-door to answer questions from residents. In the three-week construction period, the city did not receive a single complaint, which is what we’ll continue to strive for in the next phases of construction. In fact, people were coming out of their homes to thank all of us, which was great. Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® is a transformative project that will serve to connect all city residents and businesses to the digital economy,” he added.

Wide Support from the Business Community

Todd Shimkus, President & CEO of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce lauded Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® project as an economic advantage for the city: “The SiFi project is nothing short of revolutionary and will serve as an economic boon for our already strong economy. The best part is that the SiFi team is making a $32 million investment in our community, which is a gamechanger for Saratoga Springs and the region.”

Darryl Leggieri, President, Discover Saratoga explained that the hospitality sector was keen to see the network built quickly: “The hospitality sector has a sharp focus on enhancing the visitor experience. Becoming New York State’s first gigabit city with the first Open Access network will serve to bolster our position that Saratoga Springs is a great place to live, work, visit, and enjoy. Our hotels are particularly excited about the promise of this network as it will be a vast improvement to the visitor experience.”

Ryan E. McMahon, Executive Director, City Center, also voiced his encouragement of the project: “Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® network will usher in a new wave of digital connectivity in our city and enable Smart City applications. We’ll be able to better manage the flow of traffic, make it easier for drivers to find parking spaces, enhance the visitor experience, and make the cost of delivering government services more efficient. Most importantly, it’ll be nice to stream video and download files without buffering and slowdowns. I can’t wait to get connected.”

An Open Access Network for All

One key element of Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® network is that it will be made available to every address—business, residential, and institution—within the city limits of Saratoga Springs. This includes low-income housing units that are typically passed over by internet service providers.

“We aim to build the entire city in all our FiberCity® projects,” said Heaps. “We believe that everyone in the community deserves high-speed fiber infrastructure. Our FiberCity® Aid program helps cover the cost of fiberoptic service for deserving households. We’ll work with the city to get a list of households that qualify for the deeply-discounted service,” he noted.

“Being able to connect our community’s underserved residents to the fiber network will usher in a new era of economic opportunity and inclusivity for those struggling to make ends meet. Connecting low-income households to Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® network is a top priority for my colleagues and I on the City Council,” said Commissioner Golub.

Construction is expected to resume on Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® network after Labor Day, when summer traffic subsides, and DPW’s permitting review has been completed.

“We’re enormously excited and proud to bring this world-class network to Saratoga Springs,” said Heaps.