Opelika's mayor gives State of the City speech; discusses helpin - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Opelika's mayor gives State of the City speech; discusses helping other cities gain fiber technology

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Mayor Gary Fuller says the city of Opelika has come a long way - it's growing and has no plans of slowing down.

He credits his team for the achievements in 2014.

"From Opelika City Schools, to Southern Union, to our work force, our great people who have a great work ethic, folks say we like doing business in Opelika," explains Fuller.

The $300 million expansion of the company Baxter International was the largest in the state for 2014 and created 200 high-paying jobs. 

Fuller is looking forward to 2015.

"We think we are going to continue to have some expansions. We always like making announcements for new industry and for new jobs. We are hopeful we will have something to announce one day for the city of Opelika," says Fuller.

Fuller also says Opelika's fiber optic network has set them apart. It has been up and running for just over a year, serving residential customers, and allowing new and existing industries to grow.

"Industry can now work faster, work smarter and compete," explains June Owens of Opelika Power Services.

Because of their success, Opelika has joined nearly 40 other cities across the nation in petitioning the Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC.

They are asking for relief from restrictive laws that could affect how the community gets access to the internet. 

"We were willing to invest in ourselves, so we are just asking the FCC don't tie these folks up, let it be a choice," says Fuller.

The city is also working on local legislation to be able to serve customers around the county.

"OPS can't serve outside our electric footprint, only within our city limits," explains Owens. 

"There's not limit on what the incumbent providers as long as they have a franchise," says Fuller, "We want the same right."

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