MetroNet digging still on hold as Carmel examines options

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MetroNet, an Internet and cable provider, stopped digging in Carmel Aug. 30 after its contractors struck several underground gas lines. There’s no timetable for when digging might resume, but the City of Carmel is exploring future options for utility work.

Mayor Jim Brainard said the Indiana State Legislature has taken away almost all of a municipality’s ability to approve or deny permission for privately owned utilities to operate in right-of-ways.

Winston Long, president of OMNI Productions and head of the Carmel Cable & Telecommunications Commission, said the city has hired a consultant to help write rules for dealing with utilities that will hopefully work within state law. The city entered a consulting contract with Peter Beering, a Carmel resident and attorney who has represented several major utilities, including Indianapolis Water and Indianapolis Power & Light. He’s a specialist in easements and has been involved with more than 2,500 utility easements. He was named deputy general counsel for the Indianapolis Water Company, one of the nation’s largest private water utilities prior to its sale in 2002.

Long said he is is confident in Beering and wants  the matter with MetroNet resolved soon. He said companies like MetroNet are trying to enter the marketplace because new technology allows them to provide extremely high speed Internet.

“Instead of cable, they’re laying fiber, which greatly enhances their services,” Long said.

City councilor Jeff Worrell asked Long about spotty cellphone coverage on Carmel’s southeast side. Worrell said it’s his understanding that there’s a plan for a cellphone tower at Brookshire Golf Course. Long said he’s also aware that cellphone coverage should be improving in the area.

The city is asking those with complaints about MetroNet to call the Carmel Dept. of Community Services at 317-571-2417.

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