Three Archtop Fiber representatives spoke to an audience of about 15 people in Kingston’s city-hall council chambers late Tuesday afternoon, November 14. Installation of their product will begin first in Ward Nine, then Ward Eight, followed by the rest of the city. Narrow trenches will be dug and filled in one day, they said, and automotive traffic won’t need to be detoured.
The wiring of Kingston for the speed of all-fiber optics will take year to 18 months, Archtop said. The result will be faster Internet speeds for Kingston than New York City can boast of. This technological leap forward may prove attractive to the large number of digital nomads and hybrid workers who want to live outside the Big Apple but still remain on its payrolls.
Archtop Fiber, headquartered in iPark 87 in the Town of Ulster, plans to provide Internet service to a large portion of the Hudson Valley. The heavily capitalized firm plans to move fast. This winter, it is scheduled to install high-speed fiber in Kingston, Esopus, Hurley, Ulster, and both the village and the town of Saugerties. Later next year, it expects network construction in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Hudson and Catskill.
With a $350-million investment from Stamford-based Post Road Group, a Connecticut private equity firm, Archtop expects to roll out its fiber throughout the Hudson Valley and elsewhere. In the past year, it has bought several small telephone companies and completed memoranda of understanding for service with a number of governmental entities in the region, including recent deals with Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia and Sullivan counties,
Archtop Fiber’s chief development officer, affable Shawn Beqaj, said the company was “well along in our plan to construct a truly next-generation, all-fiber network and provide service across the Hudson Valley, and our partnerships … will help speed that deployment and extend our services through participation in such programs as the New York State ConnectALL program.” Archtop Fiber would appreciate government support for some of its projects, but Beqaj said the company’s business plan wasn’t counting on it.
According to the state government, the mission of ConnectALL is to build New York State’s digital infrastructure and connect all New Yorkers through the Internet. The ConnectALL Office oversees the statewide digital equity plan and administers over a billion dollars in public investments across the state. It offers a variety of grant and loan programs encouraging open and accessible broadband infrastructure through a reverse auction process, in which providers bid against each other.
Archtop’s all-fiber rollout provides serious competition for Spectrum, which provides similar services on a more antiquated system combining fiber and copper. At the hour-long Tuesday afternoon meeting, Archtop Fiber explained the advantages of its more modern technology.
In Kingston, the firm has already started laying fiber around the one hub off Mary’s Avenue that will serve the entire city. Another hub has been established on Route 32 North outside the Village of Saugerties. In Saugerties as in most of Ulster County the fiber will travel on utility poles instead of underground.
Archtop Fiber was financed by $350 million from Stamford-based Post Road Group, a Connecticut private equity firm. One of the first tenants of iPark87, it presently employs about 3 people locally. According to Beqaj, that number will increase to at least 85 next year. The company’s installers, not included in that count, will be contractors supervised by Archtop.
Archtop Fiber says it prefers to hire locally, and has so far found no difficulty finding qualified local people to fill its available positions.
“We all live here,” said one Archtop employee at the Kingston meeting. That was a refrain the three kept repeating, giving examples of their local affiliations and bonafides. Though Archtop has great ambitions for a regional and perhaps national business, its employees seem to retain a strong affinity for this part of the world. This is where Archtop Fiber is being born.
The meeting was convened by alder Michele Hirsch of Ward 9. For more information, go to Archtop Fiber: https://archtopfiber.com/.