Partner spotlight: Metronet

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I-Light partner St. Joe Valley Metronet earned the Cornerstone Award from Broadband Communities in 2006 for its pioneering example as one of the first open-access networks in the United States.

The Metronet is a 50−plus mile, dark, fiber optic network that loops around South Bend and Mishawaka and offers state−of−the−art telecommunications connectivity. End-users have the experience of unlimited bandwidth and unlimited speed. End-users also enjoy a network of vendors that provide a variety of services at competitive prices.

Recently, the South Bend Tribune helped to explain the unique advantage St. Joseph County, South Bend, and Mishawaka have because of the existence of Metronet Zing's dark fiber-optic network.

Earlier this year, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote about what a connected economy will offer.

He pointed out that an information technology revolution is bringing more abundant and less-expensive tools of innovation, collaboration and creativity to billions of people around the world. The easier, quicker and cheaper it is for people to access information and share ideas, the more they will create the new products, procedures, tools and ideas that will transform manufacturing, medicine, education, entrepreneurism and entertainment, significantly altering world and local economies.

Right now, much of the United States lags behind the world in access to high-speed networks. In St. Joseph County, a group of leaders in industry, education, health care and government realized in the early 2000s that our economy was hobbled by the high cost of and limited access to high-speed and high-capacity communications. In response, they formed St. Joe Valley Metronet with the premise that open access to a high-speed network would foster competition, lower costs and allow innovation. They were right.

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