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Critical Hub launches home gigabit broadband service

Residents can signup for the service through the Optico Fiber website at http://optico.criticalhub.com.

Residents can signup for the service through the Optico Fiber website at http://optico.criticalhub.com.

Critical Hub Networks announced Tuesday the launch of Optico Fiber, Puerto Rico’s first Gigabit Fiber-to-the-Home Internet service. The service will be available exclusively for residential customers, and will offer upload and download speeds of up to 1 Gbps, that is equal to 1,000 Mbps with unlimited data transfer.

Under a model similar to Google Fiber, Critical Hub is making Optico Fiber available in communities (also known as “fiberhoods”), which meet minimum signup goals.

Residents can signup for the service through the Optico Fiber website at http://optico.criticalhub.com.  There is a $10 registration fee, which will be applied toward the customer’s first bill once service is installed. This fee is fully refundable if the resident chooses to cancel prior to the end of the signup period, or in the event that a fiberhood does not meet its goal.

The first fiberhoods that can signup for Optic Fiber are in San Juan, company officials said.

The initial launch includes seven fiberhoods, although Critical Hub will continuously open new fiberhoods as the engineering of the new regions are completed.

“Our initial deployment of Optico Fiber is in the San Juan area,” said Carlo Marazzi, president of Critical Hub Networks. “However, we plan to deploy Optico Fiber in as many locations across Puerto Rico as possible.”

Residents can track the progress of each fiberhood toward the goal through the website.

“All fiberhoods that meet the signup goals will be deployed.  It’s our goal to deploy Optico Fiber service as quickly as possible, which may mean that we’ll be working in multiple fiberhoods simultaneously,” Marazzi added.

Optico fiber plans and pricing include four tiers of service: a plan bundling gigabit and phone service will run $90 a month; gigabit service only, $70 a month; free broadband plus phone service $20 a month; and free broadband. While under the first two options, customers are exempt from paying the $300 construction fee when signing up for a two-year contract, the latter two options entail paying the construction fee over a six-month period.

Service based on Google Fiber model
Karen Larson, senior vice president of Critical Hub Networks, told this media outlet that the new service being deployed takes after the Google Fiber service available in the U.S. mainland.

“We are using Google Fiber’s model. The investment is a joint effort between Critical Hub and the community, which we’ll be serving,” she said. “We’ll be expanding as quickly as we can, based on interest levels within each community. We know that San Juan has the potential to transform itself quickly, like Chattanooga and Kansas City, so we are starting here, in our backyard.”

The first fiberhoods, which are open for Optico signup represent approximately 10,000 households, she said.

“We hope that we will meet the goals in each of the fiberhoods so that they will be all deployed.  Our engineers are finalizing plans more than 100 additional fiberhoods,” she said, encouraging residential customers to sign up via the Optico website to request service.

“If you live in an area that is not yet open for signup, be it in San Juan or any municipality, you should click on the ‘Bring Fiber to My Area’ button and fill out your address.  Areas with the highest interest levels will be given more priority for deployment over those areas without interest,” Larson said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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