homepage logo

First user joins Lehi fiber internet network, expected available for all residents by 2025

By Nichole Whiteley - | Jun 14, 2023

Courtesy Lehi City

Lehi City's first fiber optic customer poses with the city council and mayor in front of their home on Monday, June 12, 2023.

On Monday, the Lehi City Fiber Network went live with the first resident joining the service alongside Mayor Mark Johnson and other elected officials.

By Tuesday, 13 residents have been connected to the network with another 46 more orders for service according to Shaye Ruitenbeek, fiber manager for Lehi. With about 500 homes in each area, called a cabinet, the take rate for the first area is currently around 12%. Ruitenbeek said their expectation is to hit about 45%.

There are 7,173 unique addresses currently pre-registered with a 32.90% protected take rate. Ruitenbeek said the buildout schedule is ongoing and the areas of Lehi will be filled in based on the design of the network and resident demand. Lehi City Fiber Network and Strata Networks expect the network will be available to every resident that wants to enroll by 2025.

“Residents have been asking for a fiber network for a long time,” Ruitenbeek said.

As the network is brought to each new area, Ruitenbeek said a pre-construction letter will be mailed to residents and a postcard will be mailed after construction is complete to help residents sign up for an internet service provider when they are ready for installation.

Lehi City executed the $68 million contract with Strata Networks in 2022. Strata designs, constructs, operates and maintains the network while the city owns the infrastructure and funds the project.

Over the past year, they have worked on designing the structure of the network, procuring materials, gathering field data, going through the city’s review process, obtaining permits, constructing the network, and much more to get the fiber network ready for residents to begin connecting.

Residents in the Traverse Mountain Master Association are excluded from the network offering because of an existing “telecommunications easement that we are not able to cross,” Ruitenbeek said.

The process takes two to three months, start to finish, to install the system. Ruitenbeek told the Lehi City Council Tuesday that construction of the network will take 40-50 days; placing the fiber takes 30-35 days; running fiber from the service terminal to the home/business takes one or two days and installing the terminal takes one day.

“We’re trying to have as minimal of an impact as possible as we’re going through with construction, and when a resident has brought up a concern, we address it quickly,” Ruitenbeek said.

Part of the Lehi Fiber Network project is ensuring the network is affordable for all residents through the Affordable Connectivity Program, a federal benefit that offers a discount of up-to $30 a month on residents’ ISP bill.

“It is really important to have a program like that available because we can’t say that we want to bring fiber to all Lehi homes if we’re not making it affordable for everybody,” said Jeanteil Livingston, Lehi communications manager.

Service providers working with the Lehi Fiber Network Program include BeeHive Broadband, CentraCom, Intellipop, SumoFiber and XMission. To sign up using ACP, a resident must first sign up through the federal government’s website and, after approval, they can contact their ISP about qualification for the discount.

Residents are typically eligible if they also receive assistance through the Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program, SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC and other programs, according to the city website.

“As soon as other residents see that our first residents to receive fiber are satisfied, and they are talking about how fast their internet truly is with fiber, I believe that is going to make other residents jump on board, especially those that are kind of skeptical right now of fiber,” Livingston said.

A fiber-optic network is a broadband connection that provides high-speed internet service to its users. Lehi City’s network has symmetrical speeds, meaning the upload and download speed is the same, according to Ruitenbeek. The city network is housed in four shelters, small utility buildings, connecting to each other and residents.

“The backbone will be a ring around the city, and that creates a redundant network so that if it gets cut in one spot, it will self-heal which means that there shouldn’t be a lapse in service, and that’s the main line that everybody will connect to in such events,” Ruitenbeek said.

Efforts to contact Strata Networks for additional information were not immediately successful, though Strata Networks CEO Bruce Todd praised the power of fiber networks in a press release announcing Lehi’s first customer.

“By leveraging the power of fiber optics, Lehi City is revolutionizing how its citizens will communicate, work, learn, and live. … We are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and are happy to be a part of creating positive change in an already vibrant community,” he said.

Utah County is also home to several other fiber networks including UTOPIA Fiber, Google Fiber, SenaWave Fiber and more. Other networks are still welcome in Lehi aswell.

“One reason why we wanted to build this network was to provide more options to residents, so we don’t want to limit other providers by coming in. We want to provide more options on a very high-quality network,” Ruitenbeek said.

Residents interested in registering for fiber can do so on the city website. Pre-registering is free for the residents and ensures they receive updates on when construction will begin in their area.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)