Surf Internet ups broadband speeds with multi-gig move in Indiana

Surf Internet, a regional ISP covering parts of Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, is flexing its fiber muscle, announcing plans to roll out multi-gig broadband service in La Porte, Indiana in early 2023. The move represents a preview of its ambition to extend multi-gig speeds to additional communities and in La Porte will give it a leg up on cable competitor Comcast.

While the operator didn’t specify speed tiers or price points, it indicated its network will be capable of delivering up to 10 Gbps. That jibes with comments CEO Gene Crusie made to Fierce in September, when he noted Surf was working to upgrade its GPON network to XGS-PON. The company's current offerings include symmetrical 100 Mbps, 500 Mbps and 1-gig plans.

An operator representative told Fierce this week that when its new multi-gig services come to town, Surf technicians “will provide a new line card to existing La Porte customers who wish to upgrade to higher speeds tiers.”

The representative added that while Surf has “several” communities on its multi-gig roadmap, “We wanted to bring this opportunity to our La Porte customers first as Mayor Tom Dermody continues to be a strong partner and advocate” for the operator.

Surf Internet has been working to expand its footprint in recent months, announcing plans earlier in the year to build fiber in Oglesby, Mendota and Sterling, Illinois. In May, it bagged a nearly $6.1 million grant to help it reach 1,500 locations in Indiana, including 953 in La Porte County.

According to data shown on the Federal Communications Commission’s new broadband map, Surf served a significant portion of the city of La Porte as of June 2022, with nearly 83% coverage in the downtown area. There, it is primarily squaring off against Comcast, which provides service tiers offering speeds as high as 1.2 Gbps.

Surf’s service was also available in the areas around Elkhart, Benton, Middlebury, Plymouth and Wanatah, Indiana; Bonfield, Coal City, Northville and small portions of Sterling, Illinois; and parts of Dorr, Oak Grove between Cohoctah and Oceola Township, and the area south of Handy Township in Michigan.

As of September, Crusie said the operator had around 24,000 customers across its territory and was aiming to reach a total of between 70,000 and 80,000 passings by the end of this year. The representative said it remains on track to reach its goal.

Beyond 2022, Surf is looking to add another 120,000 passings by 2024 and 100,000 in the years beyond that.