New details are coming to light about the city of Hillsboro's planned fiber optic internet utility.
For the past year, the city has been working on launching a high-speed internet service as a utility for city residents, smilar to water or sewer services. The project would offer gigabit services to interested residents within the city, with fees appearing on residents' utility bills each month.
Last week, crews began installing the first few miles of cable under Hillsboro roads, but up until now the project has been largely a list of questions: No name for the service had been announced, nor had the city released many details about where, or when, residents would be able to sign up for the high-speed internet.
On Tuesday, city staff unveiled the name to the Hillsboro City Council: Known as HiLight, the fiber-optic internet service is expected to go live for some customers as early as 2020.
The service's name, HiLight, is a portmanteau of "Hillsboro" and "light," said Megan Eatough, the project's spokeswoman. Light is what fiber-optic internet uses to send data.
The first two neighborhoods to receive the service will be the still-under-construction South Hillsboro neighborhood near Cornelius Pass Road, and the Shute Park neighborhood in southwest Hillsboro. City staff estimate the first 3,500 customers could begin signing up for the service in early 2020.
From there, the service is expected to expand to other areas across Hillsboro, growing from those first two neighborhoods, according to city staff.
As for pricing, city planners say many questions remain unanswered, but stressed it would be affordable to all city residents. When launching the project last year, city leaders stressed that the service needed to be accessible for everyone. the Shute Park neghborhood was chosen as the project's launching point specifically because few residents in that area can afford high-speed internet.
"HiLight will ensure that schools, neighbors and businesses have access to fast, reliable internet and the highest-quality customer service," said Mayor Steve Callaway.
This story will be updated.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.