The City of Lakeland currently owns and operates over 330 miles of existing fiber-optics that spans the entire Lakeland Electric service territory. Originally the fiber was installed to create efficiencies so those working in the field could communicate with office operations. Over the years, the usage of this large fiber-optic network has expanded to provide high-speed internet connectivity to the Polk County School District, local libraries, public safety entities and Lakeland Electric for substation monitoring. The City also leases fiber to local businesses like Lakeland Regional Health and other large users that require ultra-high-speed internet.
This public-owned asset is used primarily for City operations but with the growing demand for increasingly higher internet speeds, there is a desire to leverage the existing 330-mile fiber backbone and develop a business plan to offer residential broadband services. There are substantial costs involved with connecting customers to this existing fiber network.