The New Face of Rural Tech
Fiber optic project will 'light up' downtown
December 23, 2015

SANDPOINT, ID - Progress and enthusiasm is building for the fiber optic project in Sandpoint that will ultimately “light up” the town for ultra high-speed Internet – and provide a competitive advantage for businesses in the downtown.

According to the City of Sandpoint's right-of-way enforcement officer Bruce Robertson, the project is now at a transition point after installation of the conduit and vaults for the fiber optic backbone through the downtown were completed in late fall 2015.

"I am currently working on a project that will install the cable," he said. "A separate contractor pulls the fiber optic cable through the conduit."

Installation of the cable will take just three to four weeks, but getting the cable requires a 4- to-6-week lead time. "We are talking over three miles of cable, so the supplier doesn't just have the cable sitting on the shelf." The contract calls for 16,000 feet of cable in all, and the City of Sandpoint is planning to install two separate cables within the 2" conduit. A 288-fiber cable will be used for economic development, and a 96-fiber cable will be used for government services. Robertson anticipates the 96-fiber cable will be spliced and running before the larger 288-fiber 'economic development' cable.

The next step is to firm up a deal with a service provider to "light up" the network, which should be happening in 2016, maybe in the first half. He said the city government might have Internet connection by spring 2016, while it might be summer or fall 2016 for businesses to follow.

"The enthusiasm for this project is infectious," Robertson said. "It's really a bright spot in the city's future, in my opinion. I can't underestimate the value. I think it's going to be really attractive to businesses."