Montana telecom completes $11 million, 380-mile fiber cable burial project

(UI) — Blackfoot Communications, headquartered in Missoula, has recently celebrated the successful culmination of a six-year endeavor, entailing an $11 million investment, to install more than 380 miles of cutting-edge fiber optic cable within the Flathead Reservation vicinity around St. Ignatius, according to Government Technology.

Initiated in 2018, this extensive project served as a crucial replacement for the aging copper wire infrastructure. Presently, nearly 1,000 locations in and around St. Ignatius are now connected to high-speed fiber optic networks.

"Families, businesses, and schools in St. Ignatius now have access to some of the fastest internet speeds in Montana," Jason Williams, CEO of Blackfoot, told Government Technology. "This is the first of many network upgrades we're planning to bring high-speed, fiber-based internet to communities in Western Montana. Fiber optic cable is a future-proof technology and long-lasting infrastructure, providing opportunities for decades to come."

Williams extolled fiber optic technology as the preferred choice for fast, dependable, and cost-effective internet access. Unlike wireless or satellite options, fiber-based internet is impervious to disruptions or performance degradation stemming from adverse weather, geographic distance, or physical location. Furthermore, Blackfoot Communications buries over 95% of its fiber-optic cable, providing added resilience against aboveground occurrences, such as extreme weather conditions or fires.

Blackfoot is actively expanding its fiber networks in Thompson Falls, Plains, Philipsburg, and Georgetown Lake, with plans in motion for additional regions.

Chris Laslovich, the public affairs manager for Blackfoot Communications, disclosed that the company has invested over $50 million since 2017 to transition its copper network to a fiber-optic infrastructure in Western Montana. Other locales that have benefited from these upgrades include Thompson Falls and Plains. He underscored that the federal government is making historic investments in broadband infrastructure to bridge the "digital divide," which denotes the connectivity disparities between rural and urban regions.

Blackfoot is leveraging approximately $74 million in federal grants, in conjunction with an additional $21 million from its own resources, to strategize and implement approximately $96 million worth of forthcoming enhancements for nearly 7,000 locations.

Communities like Darby, the Potomac Valley, Drummond, the Big Hole Valley, and Alta can anticipate substantial improvements in streaming speeds and digital performance as a result of these endeavors.

This story was originally published by Government Technology.


Related News

From Archive


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}