Updated: February 21, 2020 11:09 PM
Created: February 21, 2020 10:32 PM
GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — If you've signed up to get high-speed access to Rochester’s Greenlight Networks, you're not alone.
The fiber optic internet provider is seeing a rapid rise in requests from people looking to connect and is aiming to service 80,000 new homes by the end of 2020.
But, some neighbors are finding the company’s network can't be in every home.
Gates native Robert Steinmetz wanted to know why his street was left off the circuit, and News10NBC looked into it.
Steinmetz currently uses Spectrum for internet, and spread out among his family’s many devices, he’s noticed unreliable speeds, which can lag at times.
When he saw Greenlight was first offering a change for his neighborhood, located in the Shadywood District, he says he was quick to put his house on the list. The standard installation fee for an area is $100.
"You're going to get a lot faster speeds," Steinmetz said.
Quickly, a line was put in, only, it was just for homes across the street, which left Steinmetz’s entire side of the block off the grid. After months of waiting, and what he says, was no-explanation, Steinmetz reached out to the company.
“Basically, they said that due to some easements not being signed by some people in the area, now they're not going to be in our area for a significant amount of time," he said.
But, what exactly are easements?
We asked Vice President of Operations David Shaffer, and he told us, it's basically a legal right to use someone's yard. In Greenlight's case, to make its connection work from power lines, they need to bury electronic conduits in the yards of specific homes.
In an email exchange obtained by News10NBC, Steinmetz told the company he was not approached about the easements, and felt the specific homeowners may not have been contacted either.
Shaffer says workers first notified neighbors of the network’s availability in late 2018, and then sought out the specific homes from there.
He says, the company received the necessary easements to make construction plans around May 2019, and then began work. Shaffer says, soon after, the company found not every homeowner had signed on to approve work in their yard.
"We have many options, and we try to overcome it as much as possible, but there are times where we don't have the permission necessary to proceed," he said.
Those options include seeking out another way to make a connection, but, if the company finds this is not possible, further work is halted, as was the case in Steinmetz’s neighborhood.
As for why it could take a “significant amount of time” to return to the neighborhood, Shaffer says, crews are working with high demand around the area, and still need the required amount of easements in Steinmetz’s neighborhood to begin work again. Per the email exchange, the company told Steinmetz its primary focus “is to expand our footprint to districts containing 500-1,000 households.”
Andrew Hyman: “So, it's not going in now, but the door's not completely shut?”
Shaffer: "That is correct."
In the meantime, while he is frustrated, Steinmetz says he understands the process, and he is not losing hope.
"I still want the service out here, I think you want to try to have as many people that want the service to stay,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer says having an easement on file does not guarantee service, but does make it easier for construction plans in the future. The company does offer neighbors the ability to file an easement after the initial meet up.
To keep neighbors in the know, you can view an interactive map that outlines where your neighborhood stands, and when/if you can expect work to be done.
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