By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer
HAMILTON - A high-technology telecommunications company based in Middletown has become the first private business to use Butler County's fiber-optic network.
I-Fiber has installed almost 2 miles of fiber-optic cable in Middletown, connected to the county's 100-mile system.
The company signed a contract with the county three weeks ago. On Monday, the county commissioners agreed to provide I-Fiber with a $112,500 revolving loan for equipment purchases that will enable the company to immediately increase its customers from 30 to 132.
The new equipment will allow I-Fiber eventually to serve up to 5,000 customers.
The commissioners hailed I-Fiber's contract with the county as a milestone for Butler's $2.5 millionfiber-optic network, an amenity they consider critical for attracting and retaining businesses with good-paying jobs.
The county hopes eventually to expand access to the fiber-optic network to residents.
Until I-Fiber came aboard, the county's network served only county offices and Miami University.
"We're on the brink of being a major, major player in economic development because of this fiber-optic network," Commissioner Courtney Combs said. "The payback will be in new businesses and new jobs. It will bring great prosperity."
Dennis Nichols, who manages the fiber-optic project for the county, said he knows of no other county in the nation with a comparable fiber-optic network.
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