Courtney Creel, left, and Mickey Franco of Island Fiber. Creel's family is the first neighborhood residence to have light-speed residential internet service in Orange Beach.

By John Mullen

August 5, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL – (OBA®) – Courtney Creel and her family of Orange Beach received residential light-speed internet service with full home Wi-Fi coverage.

“It is wonderful,” Creel said. “We’ve had it for a couple of days and I am obsessed.”

Thanks to Island Fiber and owner Mickey Franco fiber is bringing light-speed residential internet to individual homes in Orange Beach and the Creels were the first on Aug. 2. It’s the first free-standing home in the city to have fiber internet installed in their home courtesy of Island Fiber.

Some businesses, condo complexes and city offices have the advanced service but the Creels are the first in a neighborhood.

“This project is for only residential neighborhoods,” Councilman Jerry Johnson said.

Johnson, chairman of the city’s telecommunications committee has been working toward this goal with several companies but Island Fiber, which is based in Orange Beach, is the first to bring it. During the week of Aug. 4-10 several more homes in that neighborhood will receive the service.

“The City of Orange Beach is grateful to Island Fiber for installing fiber on Burkhart Road and Burkhart Lane,” Johnson said. “The construction of the fiber is going very well with minimum ground interruption. They connected their first customer and they will have six others connected by Aug. 5.”

In the works next is a contract with the city to continue Island Fiber’s momentum to keep expanding its nascent network.

“The Mayor and City Council will vote on an economic development agreement with Island Fiber on Aug. 20,” Johnson said. “Island Fiber and the City of Orange Beach are planning to have fiber to each neighborhood and to every resident who wants a fiber connection by December 2020.”

To get a break on the cost of the service, potential customers in Orange Beach can preregister with Island Fiber for $25 through Aug. 31 and this is available to any resident in the city. Those who preregister are essentially paying their installation fee early so when fiber comes to their neighborhood, they will have no installation fees. Preregistration ends at the end of the month and installation fees starting Sept. 1 will be $99 per home.

Franco said Island Fiber has plans to add work crews along State Route 161, or Orange Beach Boulevard and on Canal Road east of State Route 161 in October or November. Until then crews will be working on the east end of Canal.

“We will provide construction schedule info thru town hall meetings, social media and also by contacting each individual customer that has registered on our website,” Franco said.

Over on Burkhart, the Creel family is still in awe of the power of fiber.

“We have all been rooting and cheering and wanting and waiting for a while now,” Creel said. “So user friendly, it’s been phenomenal and I’m the first one to have it. My husband travels so when our internet is out, we can’t face time or it’s slow. So, for us it is very much a need.”

With three youngsters in the house it also provides more control over when the internet is available throughout the house, another feature Creel really likes.

“On the app that comes with Island Fiber you have control over when they are on it and can cut it off at any point in time just by hitting a stop button,” Creel said. “At 9:30 at night and I’m ready for it to be turned off, I stop it.”

But it also brings something extra special for the kids who spend a lot of time playing on video games.

“If my boys are gaming or playing Mario or something like that, I can set the internet in their room from the app so that the internet knows its using it for gaming and it changes the speed of it,” Creel said.

And, for the adults, streaming music is virtually uninterrupted, she said.

“It’s super, super duper fast. When you are on YouTube you have to go through that ring and it buffers,” Creel said. “There is no buffering, there is no stalling. If you want to fast forward and you move the little red dot at the bottom it immediately keeps up with you.”