Lumos, a fiber optic internet provider based in High Point, announced on Monday that it completed the engineering for its $56 million project in New Hanover County.
The project, first announced in April,
includes plans to build 655 miles of fiber optic technology in portions of Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Ogden, Myrtle Grove, Castle Hayne and Wrightsboro, according to the release. Construction is planned to begin soon, as the permitting process is underway.
The engineering process included engineers walking the neighborhoods and driving through the streets to see where the team would be able to lay the cables, said Derek Kelly, Lumos' vice president of market development.
"It's a lot of that real detail work," he said. "And then going into the actual engineering drawings in our systems to figure out exactly where we're going to place facilities – if it's going to be in the ground, in the air, what side of the street it's going to be on, going through all this real technical stuff."
Lumos officials have not set a timeline for construction yet, he said, but he expects it to begin this year and continue through the end of 2025.
Fiber optic internet differs from traditional cable or digital subscriber line (DSL), which is how most of the region accesses the internet. Fiber-optic cables deliver data through light, allowing it to transmit large amounts of information and have more bandwidth compared to traditional cable internet.
Most households and businesses in the area use cable internet, Kelly said. There are some areas where there is fiber overlap, but cable is the most common and DSL is less common. His team targeted areas of New Hanover County that did not have access to fiber internet.
"Wilmington is growing exponentially, and its economy is booming," said Lumos CEO Brian Stading in the release. "The city needs access to ultra-fast and reliable internet to support the growth. Lumos is committed to meeting the current and future demands for internet access, supporting the economy and enhancing residents' overall quality of life."
Lumos officials are expected to attend the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting Thursday. Backing from local leaders has helped the company expand its footprint in Wilmington, according to the release.
The chamber helped connect Lumos officials with businesses, Kelly said. Another reason Lumos will be at the event is because company officials want to connect with the public and make it known they are laying fiber optic cables in the area, he said.
The company has laid fiber optic cables in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. According to Lumos, this new service will provide “a network capable of delivering up to 385 times faster upload speeds and up to 30 times faster download speeds than traditional cable.”