Faster speeds coming

Verizon’s $30 million upgrade project to impact Farragut

Verizon’s new regional $30 million fiber optic upgrade will be impacting Farragut in the coming weeks.

Subcontractors with MCImetro Access Transmission Services Inc. brought plans to Town officials earlier this year and applied for extensive right-of-way permits for the Verizon Fiber Densification Project, which were unanimously approved by Farragut Municipal Planning Commission during its meeting Thursday, June 20.

The project will utilize both overhead and underground installation processes and will impact, at different times, Parkside Drive to the East; North and South Watt roads to the west; and in between impact McFee, Old Stage Road, Boyd Station, Virtue, Grigsby Chapel, Fretz and Smith roads, according to the permits.

The upgrade has been under construction for several months east of Farragut, and has moved westward, with portions of it already completed along Parkside Drive just outside of Town limits.

Mike Majka, a spokesman for the project, described it as an expansion that is “not 5G, but a precursor to 5G,” an expedited and faster technology currently available only in Nashville and Memphis within the state of Tennessee.

“This is an internal build for us, and we are doing it to be ready for the future,” Majka added. “It is our promise to our customers.”

He said each year, Verizon officials set money aside to provide 5G technology upgrades, and while the Knoxville market is not yet on the short list, he anticipates it should be available here “within the next two years.”

The current project, which is expanding locally from 125 miles to 550 miles of in-ground or aerial cable, will be completed once the Farragut portion is finished. The Town leg should take “no longer than 90 days to complete, including clean-up,” Majka said.

He said the company will “door tag” impacted residences within 72 hours of each phase of the project to communicate its progress.

In a Town Staff Developer meeting earlier this month, Majka said contractors work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in municipalities to avoid impacting rush hour traffic times.

With the FMPC green light, Majka said he is hoping the project can begin “as soon as possible,” but no start date had been announced as of Monday evening, June 24.