IQ Fiber’s New Fiber-optic Internet Service in Gainesville to Go Live Later This Month

Originally Published by The Gainesville Sun

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., April 12, 2024 – A Jacksonville-based internet company that announced in September plans to bring its fiber-optic network to Gainesville is finally ready to flip the switch on its $50 million investment

IQ Fiber co-founders Ted Schremp and Kim Smithers told The Sun in an interview on Thursday that they are in the final stages of configuration and testing, and that the service will be turned on sometime this month.

Schremp, who also serves as the company’s president and CEO, said he’s excited to bring a new option to Gainesville residents when it comes to home internet.

“The people perceive their cable provider as being a monopoly because, whether they’re truly a monopoly or not, they’re often times the only choice, and one choice is not a choice,” Schremp said.
Gainesville Mayor Harvey Ward, in a press release when the original IQ Fiber announcement was made, expressed a similar sentiment.

“It has always been a policy priority of mine to extend broadband competition in our community. I’m pleased to see IQ Fiber expanding into the Gainesville market, and I hope their presence here will create a variety of opportunities for all our neighbors,” he said.

In outlining the benefits a fiber-optic network, Schremp stressed that DSL and cable were never designed for the internet, and that fiber offers a much higher capacity level and fast symmetrical speeds, meaning both upload and download speeds are the same.

“Most importantly, it’s just dramatically more reliable,” he said of fiber. Schremp said IQ Fiber, which started in August 2021 and currently serves Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties, is building about 2 to 3 miles of fiber-optic lines per day. That work has been evident to anyone driving west of Interstate 75 down Newberry Road, or in the various neighborhoods in the area. Mounds of dirt from the holes dug by workers to access the utility easements have dotted the landscape for months.

And for residents who may be questioning whether or not IQ Fiber has the right to dig up their yards, Schremp said as a cable company, IQ Fiber operates under the Florida Department of State and is granted legal access to the utility easement, which in may cases runs underground within about 10 feet on either side of a street.

Before work begins, they also work with the city, county and, depending on the road, the Florida Department of Transportation, on the specifics of the design.

Schremp said many residents have likely never seen an infrastructure project of this scale in their neighborhoods, and that IQ Fiber has tried to keep the community educated about the process through mailings, door tags and emails.

“Our goal is always to minimize the disruption that any construction crew has going through the area, and we’re incredibly sensitive to the fact that residents are impacted by these projects,” Smithers said. Smithers said that not all residents who have seen work in their neighborhoods will have immediate network access, and that the company will initially only bring a couple of neighborhoods online, and then add more every few weeks. “Obviously there’s still a lot of construction happening, so it will be a process for us to get to all of Gainesville, but we’ll
bring our first customers up this month,” she said.