Friday, October 19, 2018

Idaho Falls schedules residential fiber program public meeting for Tuesday

The pilot area for fiber to be strung overhead, between 17th Street and Rose Hill Cemetery
The pilot area for fiber in city conduits, south of Sunnyside Road 
The Idaho Falls Residential Fiber Pilot Program is set to begin with a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Taylorview Junior High School.

Residents whose neighborhoods have been selected to participate in the pilot program have been identified and have received a letter from Idaho Falls Power and the Idaho Falls Fiber Network advising them of the date and time of the meeting.

While the meeting is specifically to answer questions for the pilot program residents, it is an open meeting and the public is invited to attend. The meeting will provide residents with more detailed information on the project, construction process, schedules and details on how and when to sign up for services. Utopia, the Utah-based telecommunications company that is partnering with Idaho Falls Power on the design of the fiber network, will also be at the meeting to help answer questions.

The Idaho Falls residential fiber pilot program was approved by a resolution of the Idaho Falls City Council in September.

“Essentially, Idaho Falls Power already manages a large infrastructure that provides fiber to numerous local businesses, government and schools,” said Bear Prairie, General Manager of Idaho Falls Power and Idaho Falls Fiber. “What [the] resolution does…is formally direct us to prove the feasibility of expanding our network throughout the city.”
The pilot area for fiber to be buried directly, encompassing Stonebrook and some of Victorian Village
Prairie said that the pilot will allow Idaho Falls Power critical connectivity with residential electric customers to provide better power monitoring and customer service. It will also deliver previously unavailable fiber access for internet connectivity if customers want to use the additional bandwidth.

Idaho Falls Power expects residents who opt into the fiber network to experience data speeds up to one gigabit through the service.

Idaho Falls Power already maintains hundreds of miles of power and fiber lines that are run above ground on poles or buried underground throughout neighborhoods. Because Idaho Falls Power already has the fiber backbone and can run new lines through existing power infrastructure, the utility can build the residential fiber network at a fraction of the cost other companies might face.

Construction for the project is scheduled in early November and is expected to continue through the spring of 2019.  The first service to customers could happen as early as December, but is dependent on planning schedules and the weather, so final plans and dates are subject to change.

Residents with questions about the pilot program can contact Idaho Falls Power at 208-612-8430 or by e-mail at ifpinfo@ifpower.org.