Escambia County’s Next Step Toward Broadband Internet Network Coming Soon

August 17, 2022

Escambia County will soon take their next big step toward a fiber network to provide true high speed broadband internet north of 10 Mile Road.

A request for proposals (“RFP”) is on the streets now seeking companies to bring broadband internet to residents, and their responses are due by September 6.

During a town hall meeting this week, District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry said he should have news soon on a recommend award for partners to take broadband to homes in the district. He expects the entire commission will be considering the proposals at their last meeting in late September or early October.

The commission previously divided the county broadband project into two areas — north and south of 10 Mile Road — and committed $10 million to the northern portion from a $22 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation. Escambia County will contribute $10 million, plus expected grant funds of several million dollars more, for the fiber backbone network across the area north of 10 Mile Road. The $12 million remaining will go toward the area south of 10 Mile in the future.

The county won’t provide internet all the way to the home. Instead, they issued that RFP from companies to be the internet service provider to the end user.

“High speed internet access is one of the issues that I’ve had comments and complaints about since taking office,” Barry told a group in Walnut Hill. He said that until now, he’s been able to offer few solutions for his constituents because the existing franchises are granted by the state, leaving the county with no jurisdiction. He added that Frontier Communications filed bankruptcy years ago; they are the DSL service provider as the local phone company in the Molino, Walnut Hill and Bratt areas.

Barry said high speed internet has become a necessity for school, working from home and telemedicine.

“If you don’t have decent internet at your house, you can’t do real education. You can’t do television,” he said. “High speed internet is becoming something that is an absolute need to be a productive member of society.”

Comments

10 Responses to “Escambia County’s Next Step Toward Broadband Internet Network Coming Soon”

  1. Options Are Needed on August 19th, 2022 10:38 pm

    There needs to be more options for internet service. Nearly everywhere, with the exception of the north end of Escambia County has internet options. I do not like that Brighthouse (now Spectrum) and sole territory. In Pensacola you can choose between Cox and AT&T. In Pace/Milton, you can choose from Comcast or AT&T. Let the people choose who they want each year.

  2. mike on August 18th, 2022 12:24 am

    and you best believe the USA, particularly the southeast, has the worst internet in the world. :D

  3. Yellerhammer on August 17th, 2022 9:35 pm

    Have it for every one or not at all.

  4. Jay on August 17th, 2022 1:34 pm

    Unfortunately due to deregulation from the FCC close to 20 years ago, service providers are able to pick and choose where they provide service. As a result of deregulation, the service provider can select essentially who gets service instead of providing blanket service to region. New neighborhoods are an easy market to capture service vs established homes that are isolated. To be fair to the service provider, it is expensive to invest in infrastructure that could potentially never be used by a customer. So the result of all this is that new neighborhoods get newer high end service and older homes and areas with lower population density get less choices for service and sometimes lower quality service through no fault of their own.

  5. Mike J. on August 17th, 2022 12:47 pm

    Spectrum (formerly Brighthouse) is my provider in Beulah, District 1. Internet service is spotty often, like last night. The new neighborhoods get fiber. Will existing neighborhoods and streets get converted to fiber?

  6. ProudArmyParent on August 17th, 2022 11:46 am

    Living on the outskirts of Century our only choice is Hughes network, at night the signal stinks and don’t ever let there be a rain storm. We lose both the internet signal and the TV. It is quite dangerous not to be able to pick up NEWS or a Weather Report!

  7. sam on August 17th, 2022 11:07 am

    i live in century. have at&t DSL works fine. texting, email. works great.

  8. lzhome on August 17th, 2022 9:41 am

    Starlink has been my solution since January 2022. The service is great but it comes at a price, $110/month. Doubt the county or its contractors will ever be able to bet Starlink in rural Molino.

  9. In the woods on August 17th, 2022 8:45 am

    @ Quintette Rd

    It could be worse. You could have satellite internet like the ones of us at the north end of the county. It costs $200/mo for 100gb and you can’t stream anything.

  10. Quintette Rd on August 17th, 2022 8:13 am

    On behalf of everyone that lives off of Quintette Rd, please get us another option that is not Spectrum. They are garbage, but they are our only option at this point. We would prefer an ISP that doesn’t go down multiple times per week for several hours at a time.





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