High Speed Internet Options Explored 2/24/20
The Taylor County broadband consortium update was given by Mike Bub to the full Taylor County Board. The group of individuals have been studying the interest and methods of supplying high speed internet to Taylor County. A survey was made available to residents of the county which hoped to determine the level of satisfaction with current internet levels. Mr. Bub said the group was amazed that 650 people responded to the survey. The respondents were overwhelmingly in favor of having the county provide a means of improving internet speed and capacity in Taylor County.
A possible solution could be what’s called a middle mile network. With such a concept, the county would go into the underserved areas of the county and have fiber optic hung from existing utility poles. That would eliminate the need for new poles. In areas where there are no utility poles, the fiber could be underground.
The hopes would be that the county contractor would install the dark fiber. Then the network would be opened up for bids to existing providers who would sign an agreement to lease the dark fiber from the county. That is how the county would recoup their investment. The contractor and ultimate internet provider would offer fiber optic connections to interested homeowners and businesses. That would be followed by the energizing of the optic. In isolated areas of the county where running fiber optic isn’t feasible, wireless transmitters with a range of about 3 miles could be installed.
Preliminary cost estimates to provide a middle mile network dark fiber installation to the bulk of the county would cost about $7 to $8 million. The estimated cost of a bull-blown energized network covering the county is about $118 million.
Mr. Bub indicated fiber is being installed around the perimeter of Medford. In the meantime the group continues to search for methods and options to offer reliable high speed internet to Taylor County.