Blackfoot Communications is, and always has been, deeply committed to the communities we serve. We strive every day to provide exceptional customer experiences. In 2016, we began an extensive multi-year, multi-million dollar project to replace the aging copper portions of our network with fiber optics. Fiber-based services will ensure the long-term availability of high speed broadband, voice and other advanced services for decades to come.
To date, this project has been a huge success. But now, we want to do even more. Blackfoot’s Board of Trustees, its dedicated employees and I have set an ambitious goal of bringing fiber-based services to every home and business in our service territory. Finishing our entire service territory will take upwards of 15 years to complete and cost as much as $200 million. Blackfoot has recently received an increase in the amount of federal Universal Service funding it receives. While this federal support is not nearly enough to replace all of our existing copper network with fiber, it is enough for us to get started on the vision of bringing fiber to you.
Importantly, as we replace our aging copper network with fiber, we will need to construct new fiber drops directly to each of your homes or businesses. This means we will need to enter your property to plow new fiber lines. Even if your copper-based service works fine today, we still need to plow fiber as we will be decommissioning and shutting off our copper network over the coming years.
We know how disruptive plowing new fiber to your home or business can be, so we want to work with each individual property owner to minimize any disruption this may cause. After we plow the fiber drop, we will do our best to restore your property to its original condition, including planting new grass seed for lawns and otherwise leaving the landscape undisturbed as best we can.
As indicated, this entire fiber project (for our whole service territory) will take upwards of 15 years. Please be patient with us as it is by far the biggest undertaking Blackfoot has ever done. Know that we are working diligently on planning, designing and engineering this effort. To learn more about this project and to find out when fiber will be coming to your area, please view our FAQs below, call us at 406-541-5000 or complete our Property Access Consent Form.
We are thrilled to bring fiber-based services to your homes and businesses, and I thank you for continuing to place your trust in Blackfoot.
Multi-year network upgrade project announced
St. Ignatius network upgrade begins
Arlee/Charlo network upgrade begins
St. Ignatius network upgrade completed
Thompson Falls network upgrade planned
Arlee/Charlo network upgrade continues
Thompson Falls network upgrade continues
Island Park network upgrade planned
Plains network upgrade begins
Thompson Falls network upgrade continues
Island Park network upgrade continues
RDOF: Areas around Georgetown Lake and towards Anaconda
Plains network upgrade continues
2023 / 2024
RDOF: Bitterroot Valley to the South of Darby including Conner, West Fork and East fork areas
RDOF: Upper portion of Lolo Creek to the Lolo Hots Springs area
RDOF: Outside of Condon around the Swan Lake corridor up to the edge of Ferndale
Delivering fiber to rural communities poses unique challenges, including rugged terrain and spanned distances between connections. As we determine the best routes to serve your homes and businesses, Blackfoot has hired two engineering and construction firms to work alongside us in this process, Diversified Solutions and Mid-State Consultants. You may see these partners working in your communities.
Blackfoot works with our internal and external teams to identify the areas where we will bring fiber internet service.
Blackfoot and our partners decide how we will bring fiber internet service to the identified areas.
Blackfoot and our partners begin laying the mainline fiber network.
Please note: We are not bringing fiber to your location at this stage.
Blackfoot and our partners begin delivering our fiber network to individual homes and businesses.
December 22, 2021: As requested by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), we are providing notice that we are beginning to plan for portions of our copper-based network to be turned down. Depending on your location within the identified service territory, your service may be turned down earlier as the retirement dates provided are for the entire service territory. Please reference the Public Notices below for additional information.