Building for the future is the theme for Metronet's year in 2017. Our success stories from 2017 speak not only of the future of our network, but also the communities we serve.

As we grow and strengthen the fiber infrastructure we retain focus on one of our core objectives for Metronet: providing schools with the broadband infrastructure they need to meet and exceed government standards and the growing demands of students, staff and administrators. Eighteen schools made new connections to Metronet fiber in 2017.

Nine of those schools – in the Penn Harris Madison district – are being served through a 14.5 mile expansion of the fiber network. Three Mishawaka School City schools and four Catholic schools also connected to Metronet fiber.

As our network has grown – it is now more than 215 miles in St. Joseph and Marshall counties – we made a commitment to our subscribers by launching a formal Enterprise Risk Management process. Beginning in February, an internal committee of staff and board members began meeting to assess the threats, risks and other potential issues that could negatively impact not only the network but all aspects of our business and operations. These risks were ranked, plans made and implementation started that continues to make the network more robust and to improve redundancy. Actions include relocating some fiber, improving access and working with contractors and civic officials to plan projects and routes to limit the potential for disruption and to make any needed recovery quicker.

Three steps aimed at improving operations and customer service were undertaken in 2017.

We engaged Brad Tener for a year-long enFocus fellowship.  He has been working with our fiber management application to build a visual representation of the network database, subscribers and subscriber connections.  Brad also will help assess market potential of other area communities.

Our web site was redesigned to better connect with new and existing subscribers and to emphasize Metronet's benefits to targeted types of users. Another section reaches out to recruit new partners to provide services to subscribers. We're proving that Metronet not only helps subscribers satisfy their broadband needs, but we also are supporting development of new businesses that provide services including cloud computing, internet, technology management, data storage, security and disaster recovery.

Internally, Metronet's offices were remodeled and expanded to improve working conditions for staff, make room for growth and offer better meeting and conference space.

2017 saw growth in most of our targeted user areas with new industrial, financial, medical and multitenant commercial and residential connections.  Almost 1.5 miles of fiber were added to bring the network to the new Four Winds South Bend casino on the city's southwest side.

Government use grew with new connections for the cities of South Bend, Mishawaka and Plymouth.

New connections serving South Bend's Boy Scouts headquarters and REAL Services in Plymouth added to our list of nonprofit and public service subscribers.

Metronet's community involvement included support for South Bend's Best Week Ever celebration of the community and its residents with a week of activities around the Memorial Day weekend. We also continued our participation in the Chamber of Commerce annual Business Expo.