(Missoula, MT) – Today, Blackfoot Communications announced the completion of a project upgrading an aging copper wire network to fiber optic cable. Starting in 2018, the project cost over $11 million, installing over 380 miles of fiber serving nearly 1,000 locations throughout much of the St. Ignatius area.
“Families, businesses, and schools in St. Ignatius now have access to some of the fastest internet speeds in Montana,” said Jason Williams, CEO. “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 futureproof technology and long-lasting infrastructure, providing opportunities for decades to come.”
Since 1954, Blackfoot Communications has built and managed complex networks across Western Montana, helping connect rural communities to the latest technology. Blackfoot Communications was the second provider in Montana to incorporate digital technology in its network starting in the late 1970’s, completing the upgrade in 1987. In 1989, Blackfoot Communications began integrating fiber-optic technology in its network to improve performance and reliability.
“Bringing cutting-edge technology to rural communities has always been a priority for Blackfoot Communications,” said Stuart Morton, Blackfoot trustee from the Mission Valley. “We’ve served this area for over 40 years. Our customers are our neighbors, and we want the best for our community. Closing the digital divide and increasing access to fiber-based internet is a big win.”
Fiber-optic technology is the first choice for access to fast, reliable, and affordable internet. Unlike wireless or satellite technology, fiber-based internet service does not experience disruptions or degradation to service due to weather, distance, or physical location. Blackfoot Communications buries over 95% of its fiber-optic cable, providing further protection from above-ground events including extreme weather events or fires.
In addition to St. Ignatius, Blackfoot Communications is currently building fiber networks in Thompson Falls, Plains, Philipsburg, and Georgetown Lake with other areas in planning phases.
Blackfoot Communications is celebrating the completion of the St. Ignatius fiber project with a donation to the St. Ignatius Chamber of Commerce and providing dessert at the Pumpkin Drop on Saturday, October 7th.
Blackfoot Communications delivers voice, broadband and fiber-based internet connectivity to homes and businesses in Western Montana and Eastern Idaho.