United Fiber and Data nears completion of 400-mile fiber optic network through York

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch
Employees of Hylan Datacom & Electrical pull York-based United Fiber and Data's fiber-optic line into the tunnel to run it into New Jersey.

United Fiber and Data announced on Thursday, Nov. 15, that its long-planned 400-mile data network connecting New York to Virginia via York City is almost complete. 

"We are finally, actually getting there," said Chris Lodge, chief operating officer for United Fiber and Data.

At Thursday's update meeting held at Martin Library, Lodge said there are just 40 miles left to complete along the route, and work in York will be wrapped up over the holiday season. 

The network is part of a Gigabit Revolution plan aimed to bring high-speed internet to southcentral Pennsylvania counties. 

The project is funded in part by members of the York-based rock band Live. 

United Fiber and Data's network starts in New York City and ends in Ashburn, Virginia, which sees about 70 percent of all internet traffic, Lodge said. 

Ashburn is a key component to the network's success, according to Lodge. 

A network with the "greatest connectivity and optimization" not connected to Ashburn is similar to "having a sports car without tires," Lodge said. 

The increased fiber optic network will allow new businesses to come into York and rival big city firms, which will help reshape York's economy, said Bill Hynes, UFD founder and CEO. 

The project will help bring York into the fourth industrial revolution, said Mayor Michael Helfrich. 

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WhyFly: One internet provider, WhyFly, is already coming to York to take advantage of the new fiber optic network. 

WhyFly executives announced at Thursday's meeting they will begin offering internet service in York in the middle of 2019. 

The company offers what it calls locally sourced, "gluten-free" and "shenanigan-free" internet, with simple pricing and plans, said chief risk officer Nick Sabean.

WhyFly's business plan is community-oriented, and the company hires locally in each market, he said. 

"You're going to see our reps, our support guys, our installers, you're going to see them in grocery stores, in restaurants, walking in the streets," Sabean said. "They're going to be your neighbors."

WhyFly will begin by providing service in the city, with plans to expand throughout the county, said co-founder Mike Palita. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect expected project timelines.