New company says it’s bringing ‘super-fast’ and less expensive fiber internet to Reading, Berks | Birx Regional News

READING, Pa. A new company says it will create an all-fiber cable network that will provide high-speed internet to support remote work, remote learning, live streaming, gaming, cloud connectivity, and more.

Eric Warren, the company’s CEO, said FastBridge Fiber will begin construction on the network this fall, with internet and transport data services available to residents and businesses in some areas in late 2022.

Warren said the greater Reading area would be FastBridge’s first market. It will have “the fastest and most reliable technology available, period,” he said. “And we’re building them in neighborhoods where fiber isn’t available.”

Prices range from $50 to $95 a month, she says. FastBridge also said it will have no data limits, free professional installation and simple month-to-month pricing plans.

Warren said the company, which is temporarily based on Sixth Street in Reading, is being backed by equity funding from client accounts with Guggenheim Investments.

Warren described himself as someone who had worked in the industry for nearly 30 years, “building fiber networks across the country.”

He said that three or four years ago, he became more focused on the type of networking from fiber to the home and I sold that company and wanted to do something myself.”

He said FastBridge Fiber still had to become a licensed facility with Pennsylvania and work with local municipalities to operate in them. He said the company will meet with Reading officials on Wednesday.

The next step, he said, would be “we need to build new wires, literally, in your home — put new fibers in neighborhoods and build from neighborhood streets and connect them directly to your home.”

“The way I describe it is the fibers that quickly became the third home tool ever,” he said. “It’s water/sewage, it’s energy, and it quickly converts to broadband, preferably fibre.”

“It’s a huge investment in Birx,” he said. He said the company’s goal is to “hire a lot of people in Berks County. I have a lot of great job opportunities posted now.”

Warren said that while the reading area is the primary market, “I’d like to know how to do more in Birx. I haven’t really gotten there yet.”

“I feel very fortunate to work in an industry where we really enrich these communities by giving them choice, by bringing benefit,” he said.

On its website, FastBridge says, “Every aspect of our lives has profoundly changed with the Internet. We depend on our Internet connection for work, healthcare, education, entertainment, shopping, and communication with our friends and family.”

FastBridge says its network will be built with “today’s customers” in mind: those with multiple connected devices that require the fastest speed and highest reliability.

But Warren said fiber’s “high-speed Internet” would particularly benefit small businesses.

“Small companies in Reading have been using residential cable networks designed for video, and that’s really the only option they really have,” he said. “Nobody is willing to bring fiber optics to small businesses, and we will.

“It’s a really important point…it’s really important for small businesses. Small businesses are taking advantage of technology, they need more and more bandwidth than ever before, they have no options.”

Berks County Commissioner Christian Lienbach was quoted in the FastBridge announcement as saying, “The infrastructure to build FastBridge Fiber in our county to bring fiber optic internet to our community is very exciting.

“We welcome the opportunity for Berks County residents and businesses to gain a new choice of broadband services.”

“Everyone in Reading has been incredibly friendly and open and sees this as a huge asset and a necessity for the community,” Warren said.

The FastBridge Fiber announcement comes less than a month after Comcast announced in May that it would expand its services in Berks County.

Comcast said that by the fall, it will be able to provide fiber-optic cable and high-speed internet to more than 8,300 new residential and commercial customers in the Exeter, Amity and St. Lawrence areas.

She added that the project is under implementation and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Parts of Berks are already offered by Service Electric, Verizon, Xfinity, and other service providers.

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