A $7.6 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service will enable Keystone Communications to install fiber-optic cable to its more than 700 customers over the next two years.
“We’re doing the town and the rural part of Keystone this year, and Garrison and Tama town and rural next year,” said Bryan Kimm, general manager of Keystone Communications (Keystone-Farmers Cooperative Telephone Co.). “White Construction of Beaver Dam, Wis., is our contractor putting in the fiber.
“We are installing fiber interduct through the town to each customer and then pulling the fiber-optic cable through it. White Construction has been in Keystone for the past two weeks and has most of the interduct installed for the main cables. The company has started to install the drops into houses and businesses.”
Kimm said installing fiber optic to the premises will provide high-speed Internet service to residents and business owners.
“We can give them all the bandwidth that they need,” Kimm said. “They can hook up additional televisions, and we can sell them additional bandwidth for their computers and other devices.”
Kimm said existing fiber-optic cable is connected to homes and businesses through copper wiring. That has limited bandwidth and reduced Internet transfer speed.
“Our new younger customers want all the services that they can access in larger communities,” Kimm said. “This will really prepare us for the future when additional technology is developed.”
Kimm said Keystone Communications also is installing a state-of-the-art “soft” system switch that will replace individual devices in Keystone, Garrison and Tama.
“We feel that our customers in the rural areas are just as important as those in town,” Kimm said. “As a cooperative, we normally return patronage to our members each year. They know that we won’t be able to pay the patronage for a while.”
Kimm said installing fiber to homes and businesses will help with community economic development.
“We want to be ready so if someone wants to bring a business into any of the towns we serve, we will have the technology they need,” he said. “They can take advantage of the lower taxes and the work force we can offer.”