High-speed internet services are on the horizon for Hinckley residents, businesses

by Melissa Martin

March 5 township trustees meeting

Hinckley Township residents and businesses could soon have access to high-speed fiber internet services as construction of the Medina County Fiber Network is now proceeding north.

Dave Corrado, CEO of Medina County Fiber Network, addressed trustees during the March 5 meeting asking for the township’s support in moving the project forward.

“My first ask is to have the trustees, have the community of Hinckley, work with us to put together a letter to Ohio Edison to really say we need this service here,” he said.

Corrado told the board that Ohio Edison, the county’s electricity provider, plays a significant role in installing the fiber network because the cost of installing the fiberoptic cables on electric poles as opposed to burying them underground is four to five times less.

“So, if its $2 a foot aerial, it’s $10 a foot [to install the cables] underground,” he explained, noting that Medina County Fiber Network already has faced several challenges with Ohio Edison allowing the fiberoptics to be installed on their poles. We are doing what we can to get on these poles, but Ohio Edison says it will be two years to ‘make ready,’ where they have to move the cables around on the poles to make room for the next carrier coming on.”

Corrado explained that it is possible to get the fiberoptics on the poles rather quickly, however, with the use of ‘standoffs,” which he describes as arms that extend off the poles where the wires can be installed temporarily until the electric provider’s poles are ‘make ready’ later.

Media County Fiber Network has been partnering with Lit Fiber, which has already invested $60 million in the project, for approximately three years. In that time, construction in the southern and western portions of the county has been completed, servicing approximately 25,000 residents.

Corrado added that on the southern end of the county, the network has been installed up to the southern end of Sharon Township. On the western end, the network currently runs to Wadsworth Township.

In 2025, Corrado said the network plans to complete installation in two small areas between the western part of the county and Chippewa Lake, and from Wadsworth and Sharon townships to the area near Interstate 71 and state Route 18 in Medina Township.

“We are now coming into Valley City, Brunswick and Hinckley,” Corrado said. “We are trying to put together a plan where the next stretch would be Hinckley.”

To help, Corrado asked trustees to consider distributing a survey to township residents and businesses gauging  how many would consider subscribing to the service if it were installed near their home or business. This would help Medina County Fiber Network establish a take rate – the number of homes connected for service divided by the number of homes that the fiber network passes.

“If that survey is conducted by Hinckley and we could show that 40% would sign up if the fiber comes past their home [or business], that could be an enormous incentive for us to come to Hinckley next,” he said.

Corrado said the fiber network has already proven to have a significant impact on economic development in the county.

“We know on the commercial side that of the $1.2 billion of economic development done in this county in the last five years, $650 million of it can be attributed to those companies that use the Medina County Fiber Network,” he said. “Instead of going somewhere else, they expanded here, put in new buildings and hired over 1,100 new people.”

Corrado said the Medina County Fiber Network provides residents and businesses with high-speed internet service capable of high speeds up to 1 GB.

“It automatically brings the valuation of your home up by 3-5%, according to the U.S. government,” Corrado said, noting that Lit Fiber is now looking to upgrade the network to provide 100 GB into a home or business if need be. They are at 10 GB right now. … So for those of you who have small businesses right here in Hinckley, you will have that same power that a big company has and you can compete with them.

Corrado said that for the community, the service is more important that just having another form of technology available.

“It’s actually a paradigm shift for a community,” he said. “Community fiber networks mean an actual change for the economy of that area.”

Trustee Jack Swedyk agreed.

“Having another alternative for people to look at, I think, is a good thing,” he said. “It is a good thing to always have additional services available. I do like the idea of fiber.” ∞