Mainstream work continues following end of county contract
Mainstream Fiber Networks completed its contract with Harrison County in September 2018, but their work in the county is far from over. It’s just beginning, in fact, as the internet provider is now tasked with maintaining the service for existing customers and expanding into new territory around the main line.
Dani Dean, director of marketing and sales at Mainstream, said the main line is complete and the company has begun looking for property owners in the areas surrounding it with an interest in upgrading to the company’s high-speed fiber network.
‘We’ve now built over 320 miles of fiber optic cable out in the county,’ she said, which means approximately 6,500 local households have access to Mainstream’s service. ‘As far as that number (the number of households with access) goes, it will grow exponentially,’ she added.
Mainstream public relations associate Andrew Fouts said now that the main infrastructure is in place, those interested in upgrading their service should look at the company’s Harrison County web portal (https://www.msfiber.net/index.php/harrison-county/) for details regarding availability.
‘You can contact us through there and express your interest directly through the website,’ Fouts said.
Also on the website is a regularly-updated map that highlights areas where service is presently available, sites where construction is in progress and locations being considered for possible expansion.
Dean said one of the biggest challenges the company is facing now as it expands is getting permission from private landowners to run fiber lines through their property. She said sometimes individuals will refuse to sign easements to give Mainstream access to their land, which makes it difficult to provide service to residents beyond that individual’s property.
‘It is really unfortunate when that happens,’ she said, ‘but we do everything we can with engineers and planning to make it work if possible.’
There are a few options for landowners if a neighbor refuses to allow Mainstream the right-of-way to install a line. She said the best thing to do in that case is to talk to nearby residents and gauge their interests in receiving Mainstream’s service. The more property owners that express interest in receiving service, Dean said, the more likely it will be that county officials and Mainstream can work something out with forbidding landowners to grant property access to the internet service provider.
Despite these occasional hiccups in expansion progress, Dean said the company is dedicated to bringing service to more Harrison County residents.
‘Our experience with the county has been overall very positive,’ she said. ‘We’re so happy when people get connected to our service.’
Mainstream began work in Harrison County in the summer of 2016, though planning for the project dates back to late 2014, when the county council committed to a plan that aimed to bring reliable high-speed internet access to 85% of county addresses.
At the time, council members said the infrastructure would be installed with getting government facilities connected as a main priority. After that, they said the internet service provider’s dissemination into the surrounding areas would spur economic development and offer quality-of-life improvements for students, professionals and all other residents in the county.
Fouts said that, in line with the county’s plan, Mainstream has continued developing the infrastructure needed to provide service for private properties in the years since.
‘We’ve gone beyond what was originally discussed and have built twice as much to service neighborhoods and communities outside of the original scope,’ he said.
Mainstream offers a network connection-type called ‘fiber to the home’ service, Fouts said, which provides higher base speeds and more consistent service than that of their competitors. This method, he said, brings a fiber line directly to each property that signs on, as opposed to other fiber network providers that link multiple properties into one line, which can lead to bandwidth limitations.
‘The timeline for installation is a little longer than with other providers, but, once it’s done, people have told us they are very happy with the service and they often give positive feedback,’ he said.
Dean said internet service packages with Mainstream start with download speeds of 100 mbps and range up to 1 gbps.
‘Our base package alone is about 10 times the speed that our competitors are providing to these rural areas,’ she said.
Dean said residents can visit the ‘Get Connected’ page on Mainstream’s Harrison County website to learn more about pricing and other specifics of their offerings.
For more specific questions or to speak with a Mainstream representative, call 1-844-752-6736.