By Josh Staloch
HOBART – Village residents could soon have access to internet speeds of between 300 megabytes per second to 2 gigabits per second, after a years-long project, which is about to get underway from TDS Fiber, is completed in the Village of Hobart.
Crews from TDS are set to begin work in the area of Hillcrest Drive, Forest Road, Centennial Center Boulevard and Oakview Drive this month, putting conduit in the ground for 127 miles of fiber optic lines, which will be capable of providing super fast internet connections for 80-90% of the village.
Construction of the network is set to wrap up in August 2023.
TDS Manager of Business Development Josh Worrell attended the Tuesday, May 3 Village Board meeting virtually and gave a thorough update on what the next few years, in regards to the project, will look like, and how the village will benefit from its installation.
Worrell said Hobart was identified as a good location for this project for a variety of reasons, including: demographics, residents who are ready to adopt advanced technologies and being a community that is underserved by existing providers that don’t meet the needs of residents or businesses.
He said when construction begins, crews will use cable placement techniques, such as directional drilling, to limit disruptions in the road right of way or utility easements as best they can.
However, Worrell said there will be areas where digging will be required and additional excavation will be necessary.
He said TDS will utilize postcards and doorhangers to inform residents of fiber-optic network work being done in their area.
Village staff will have their hands full with paperwork in order to get all of the project’s administrative ducks in a row.
Each of the 24 digital fiber network stations, which will need to be installed in the village to facilitate the new network, will require 50-60 pages of paperwork to be completed before a permit is issued.
Public Works will need to review each permit and make sure all utilities are identified.
“My concern as an administrator is, this is a great project but, by Labor Day, is (Director of Public Works Jerry Lancelle) going to be on 12 cups of coffee a day trying to get through this?” Village Administrator Aaron Karamer said. “We’ve never had a project of this size in Hobart.”
Kramer said the village may need to hire a full-time employee in order to handle the additional workload.
20th anniversary of incorporation
The board unanimously approved a resolution commemorating the 20th anniversary of the incorporation of Hobart as a village.
On April 2, 2002, voters of Hobart voted in favor of a referendum to incorporate the town into a village with 794 voters voting yes, and 141 voting no.
It became official on May 13, 2002 following confirmation from the Secretary of State.
Since then, Hobart has experienced considerable growth over the past two decades, from an estimated population of 5,285 in 2002 to 10,717 in 2021.