Okaloosa County, Fla – July 11, 2022 – LiveOak Fiber, an emerging regional broadband service provider building a world-class network to deliver world-class services, announced today that the newly formed company is investing $100 million to construct and operate a next-generation high-speed fiber optic network in Okaloosa County. The new network will bring alternative options to underserved regions of the county, ensuring access to affordable and reliable digital infrastructure for businesses and residents in the area.
When complete, LiveOak Fiber’s network will provide fiber-based broadband internet and communications solutions to serve homes and businesses throughout its digital footprint. Residents can expect a robust internet service with 10G per second – the fastest speeds in the U.S.
A 2021 research report from BroadbandNow estimated at least 42 million Americans lack access to broadband internet. According to the report, 2,373,981 Floridians also lack access to reliable broadband internet. Okaloosa County faces such challenges, and the area’s broadband access ranking of #182 in the Milken Institute’s “2022 Best Performing Cities” ranking confirms this.
“Okaloosa County residents and businesses need the critical infrastructure and services to support a growing population and attract new investment,” said Jody Craft, President of LiveOak Fiber. “Bringing high-speed fiber and the modern services it enables to these communities changes lives, improves education, advances healthcare options, and grows local businesses.”
Construction on the project is planned for later this year. LiveOak expects to begin connecting their first customers as early as February 2023. With plans and commitments to hire locally, the company expects to create 50 new jobs in Okaloosa County over the next three years.
“We welcome LiveOak Fiber’s considerable investment in Okaloosa County’s technology infrastructure. As our community’s profile continues to elevate for new businesses and residents alike, a state-of-the-art fiber network is not only an important amenity, it is an absolute necessity,” said Commissioner Mel Ponder, Chairman, Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners.
One Okaloosa EDC assisted LiveOak with the community review and data gathering efforts that led to the company’s favorable decision.
“One Okaloosa EDC is a strong proponent of any effort designed to enhance our community’s overall competitiveness, and a $100 million investment by the private sector in new broadband infrastructure resoundingly checks that box. We also enthusiastically welcome LiveOak’s commitment to creating new, local job opportunities,” said Leslie Sheekley, Chair, One Okaloosa EDC.
To learn more about LiveOak Fiber’s services and receive updates on plans and employment opportunities, visit: www.liveoakfiber.com
About LiveOak Fiber:
LiveOak Fiber is building a world-class fiber network to deliver the fastest broadband internet to homes and businesses. The company is committed to investing in the communities they serve by delivering modern digital infrastructure needed to improve the quality of life and drive economic growth. Learn more about our investments in quality of life at www.liveoakfiber.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
About One Okaloosa EDC:
Founded in 1989, the One Okaloosa EDC (One Okaloosa) is a 501(c)6 non-profit, public-private partnership serving Okaloosa County, Florida and its nine municipalities (Cinco Bayou, Crestview, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Laurel Hill, Mary Esther, Niceville, Shalimar and Valparaiso). As the community’s lead economic development organization, the EDC is committed to fostering economic diversification through comprehensive strategies and initiatives. In addition to its public partners, One Okaloosa enjoys broad support from more than 100 leading private sector businesses representing a wide range of industry sectors. More information may be found at www.oneokaloosa.org.