What started out as a program to help students gain access to faster internet has turned into a $2.5 million investment by Surf Internet in Portage.
On Aug. 29, the digital services company cut the ribbon on multi-gig, fiber-optic internet services that will deliver up to 2 gigs for residents and business owners.
“This investment in our community shows that Portage’s future is bright, and we are poised for responsible growth,” said Portage Mayor Sue Lynch in a press release. “I am pleased that Portage residents will see additional options for their service providers, which will hopefully bring more competition in pricing.”
In 2020, Surf collaborated with the Indiana Toll Road’s operator ITR Concession Co. to expand access as a short-term measure to more than 7,000 students in the Portage School District. This undertaking was a response to the increased demand for bandwidth during the pandemic.
“What began as a venture in improving educational opportunities in schools and virtual learning has now evolved into a catalyst for transformative change across homes and enterprises throughout the city,” Surf CEO Gene Crusie said.
About 2,500 residents and businesses will have access to the fiber internet service this year. Surf plans to expand services in Portage in 2024 to about 10,000 homes and businesses, many of which are in unserved rural areas.
The groundwork for the project was laid as Surf began construction of a fiber network for Portage Township schools in 2018.
Elkhart-based Surf Internet also has construction projects in Valparaiso and South Haven. The company plans to expand their fiber footprint over the next year into Hobart, Gary and Crown Point.
Surf Internet serves Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, with offices in Elkhart and La Porte, among others. It has 170 employees.
Caption: Representatives from Surf Internet, the city of Portage and the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce celebrate a ribbon cutting Aug. 29 to mark the start of Surf’s delivery of fiber-optic internet services to the city of Portage. (Provided by Surf Internet)