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.
Sonic currently offers gigabit, plus two phone lines, for $70, the same price charged by Google for its 1,000 Mbps service without a phone line in three U.S. cities. Google is currently building out its fiber network in Provo, Utah, Kansas City, Mo., and Austin, Texas.
"It is the fastest, lowest-priced Internet access and home phone service in America," Jasper said.
Sonic will also offer Brentwood and Sebastopol fiber customers a basic level of broadband, at 5 Mbps for no monthly charge for five years with an up-front installation fee of $300. The company hopes these customers will in the future upgrade to the full $40 gigabit plan, Jasper said
Brentwood, a city of a little more than 53,000 residents, is located just east of Concord and Antioch. Jasper said the city was an ideal choice for expanding its gigabit service because of the city's own initiative in providing fiber infrastructure. In 1999, Brentwood adopted "broadband-friendly" construction policies, requiring all new housing and commercial include conduit for fiber optic cable, Jasper said.
"The foresight that Brentwood had to put that in place positioned them to attract Sonic," Jasper said.
Sonic has been working on the Brentwood project since February 2013. The company hopes to connect the first Brentwood homes in six months, and the entire project will take about 15 months.