The Mid-Rivers Communications Board of Trustees recently approved two Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) rural broadband projects for 2023 construction.
Grass Range Rural will be 250 miles of construction to about 240 unserved locations, completing the fiber upgrades to the remainder of the Grass Range exchange (locations in the original 428 telephone prefix area).
Ekalaka Northeast Rural will continue fiber upgrades in the Ekalaka (775 prefix) exchange to about 220 additional unserved locations with 306 miles of construction. Ekalaka is a large, remote exchange area that will take multiple years to fully complete.
The 2023 rural broadband fiber projects have an estimated total price tag of $16.85 Million.
Construction to finish up the remainder of last year’s projects in Lambert and Musselshell will begin as soon as weather and ground conditions allow, followed by the 2023 projects. Every mile of new fiber must be constructed, tested, approved, and released for final cutovers before customers can be moved to the new fiber lines. It can take several weeks or even months from the time fiber is plowed for individual locations to be ready for fiber installation. Final testing and cutovers for 2021 and 2022 fiber construction projects are still underway.
Fiber offers the fastest and most reliable connection of any Internet technology available today. It also replaces the old copper telephone lines for clear and reliable voice service.
Mid-Rivers Communications is a cooperative provider serving 30,000 square miles of Eastern and Central Montana, with the long-term goal of bringing a robust, essential broadband network to every member. Mid-Rivers plans to invest over $185 Million in rural fiber construction to unserved members over the next 10 years.