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Greenlight expansion could bring high-speed internet to 12,000 more Rochester households

A Greenlight service truck with an orange ladder on the roof sits alongside a neighborhood street.
Brian Sharp
Greenlight Networks

Internet provider Greenlight Networks plans to dramatically increase the number of city households it can reach by the end of the year.

The low-cost, high-speed fiber optic internet service reaches some 15,000 Rochester households today. And the company plans to extend access to another 12,000 by year’s end.

That represents more than a third of the company’s expected growth for the year.

Focus areas include the 19th Ward, which has been working to get Greenlight since before the pandemic, and the 14621 ZIP code in the northeast.

Securing permits, easements and access to poles can present barriers. But the pace of growth in the city has drawn criticism in the past.

The company used to depend on advance sign-ups to decide where to build. But officials say investments by billionaire philanthropist Tom Golisano as well as Oak Hill Capital is allowing the company to be more deliberate in their expansion plans.

Greenlight’s service area encompasses 120,000 households across Monroe County and into Victor.

Other areas where Greenlight is eyeing significant expansion this year include Webster, where it plans to reach 4,000 additional households, and Chili, where it expects to reach 6,000.

Rochester-based Greenlight Networks is marking its 10th anniversary by talking about ongoing plans for expansion.

In each case, the company is expanding by placing network equipment in nonpublic areas of municipal buildings. A firehouse in Chili. The town rec center in Webster. And the basement of the Arnett branch library in southwest Rochester. That is, if City Council approves.

It would be the first time such a partnership has been struck in the city, despite an agreement two years ago that envisioned such arrangements to facilitate rollout in underserved neighborhoods.

Greenlight also plans to continue building out service this year in Greece, Gates, Henrietta and Pittsford, officials said.

Brian Sharp is WXXI's investigations and enterprise editor. He also reports on business and development in the area. He has been covering Rochester since 2005. His journalism career spans nearly three decades.