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Santa Rosa's Sonic expanding at lightning speed

  • 3/2/2014: A1: Dane Jasper is the co-founder and CEO of Sonic.net. The Santa Rosa-based Internet service provider is one of the highest-rated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for actively protecting the privacy of customers’ data.

    PC: Dane Jasper is the CEO and co-founder of Sonic.net. The Santa Rosa-based internet service provider is one of the highest rated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for actively protecting the privacy of customers' data. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Santa Rosa-based Internet service provider Sonic.net has landed a major contract to build a state-of-the-art fiber-optic network to deliver lightning-fast Internet service in the East Bay city of Brentwood.

The project, which has the potential to bring the company's fiber Internet service directly to 8,000 Brentwood homes and businesses, will lead to a significant expansion by Sonic, said Dane Jasper, the company's CEO and co-founder.

The company has posted 20 new positions, which will increase the company's workforce by 10 percent. The new jobs are in customer care, sales, systems and network engineering, construction installation and repair, Jasper said.

"I do anticipate we will do some hiring in Brentwood, but most of the hiring will be right here in Sonoma County," he said.

The project, which has yet to undergo engineering design work, is roughly worth about $3 million, Jasper said. The final cost of the project won't be known for another four to six months, he said.

Sonic's Fusion Gigabit service, which was launched in Sebastopol in 2011, offers speeds of up to 1,000 megabites per second. That's more than 100 times the speed of the average American Internet connection, which is slightly less than 10 megabytes per second, Jasper said.

Sonic is Northern California's largest independent Internet provider, with more than 80,000 customers and over $45 million in annual revenues, according to a staff report prepared for the Brentwood City Council last week.

Sonic ran Google's first gigabit fiber network at Stanford University in Palo Alto and has been issued a permit to construct a fiber network in San Francisco's Outer Sunset District, according to the staff report.

It plans to expand its fiber network in Sebastopol, where it currently provides gigabit service to 700 customers. Jasper said he hopes to have about 2,000 gigabit customers by the end of that expansion in early 2015.

The Brentwood project will dramatically reduce the cost of Sonic's ultra-fast Internet service. Brentwood customers -#8212; and those in Sebastopol as well -#8212; will be offered a new gigabit plan, which includes a phone line with unlimited nationwide calling, for $40 a month.

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