Listen to this article

GIBSON CITY — Gibson City residents can look forward to receiving in-home internet connection to a high-speed fiber-optic network if one company’s plans become reality.

During the city council’s Nov. 25 meeting, Heath Poulos, operations manager for Metro Communications of Sullivan, explained how the company plans to expand internet services within the community. The company, which bought Conxxus before it went bankrupt, currently provides business-level internet connectivity to Gibson Area Hospital and some of its clinics.

After speaking at a summer meeting of the Gibson City Lions Club upon the invitation of Ty Royal, the hospital’s executive director of human resources, a number of Lions Club members asked Poulos to investigate also providing a fiber-optic network to the town’s residents, Poulos said.

Poulos said the company has been upgrading connectivity for the past three years within Paxton, which was previously served by Conxxus. Poulos said he believes most Gibson City residents are not satisfied with existing local internet service providers Mediacom and AT&T.

Due to the variety of television programming now available to be streamed via the internet, Poulos said he believes customers are most interested in just “good, fast, reliable internet service.” However, Poulos said the new service most likely would have the capacity to carry phone, internet and cable service.

Plans are still being formed, and various permits will need to be obtained. The company would work with a directional boring firm, yet to be determined.

Aldermen Denis Pardick and Aaron Franks asked about speed and installation costs. Poulos said “fiber is scalable and reliable,” so there should be no difference in speed as customers are added. Poulos said installation costs would be determined by the number of people who indicate their interest in the service via a website which will be advertised when available.

Poulos said Metro Communications may also be interested in providing fiber-to-home services to Elliott residents, which could give rural residents along Illinois 9 the option to join in, as well.

After the meeting, Mayor Daniel Dickey said the idea is in its early stages, so no council action is needed at this time, but City Attorney Marc Miller will be reviewing the city’s current contract with Mediacom.

Other business

Also at the Nov. 25 meeting:

➜ City Superintendent Randy Stauffer said city workers have completed leaf pickup for the entire town. Whether they will have time to make a repeat pickup is not certain. Both the mayor and council members urged Stauffer to pursue a second round of leaf pickup. Stauffer acknowledged there are still leaf piles being created, but weather would be the determining factor.

➜ Alderman Susie Tongate said the city’s new sound system worked beautifully during the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s 25th annual Lighted Christmas Parade, and the event was a success by all accounts. Tongate said “Santa” estimated a crowd of 3,500 within the downtown area, and Dickey estimated a total turnout of 5,000 along the parade route.

➜ Marty Nuss, co-owner of Insurance Providers Group, said the renewal increases from Humana Health Insurance were relatively low this year, with a 2.7 percent increase in medical insurance premium payments, which are the bulk of the total premium. There were 3.7 percent and 6 percent increases in the much lower dental and vision plan premiums, respectively. Both Stauffer and Police Capt. Kaleb Kraft said employees are happy with the coverage provided and satisfied with the new rates going into effect Dec. 1.

➜ An ordinance was approved to create a farm lease on the 20 farmable acres at the Jordan Industrial Park. The lease will remain in effect through February 2023, with farmer Zach Bunting paying $255 per acre in cash rent each year.