By Bonnie Culverhouse
Minden may soon be on the fiber optic map, thus increasing the city’s chances of bringing in more businesses.
Phillip Smart, Economic Development Director for the city, says he met some of the staff of V1Fiber at a USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) grant meeting.
“They are helping cities get grant funding so they can provide fiber optic services for that city or town,” Smart said. “They will help us write the grant and secure the funding, and they will install the fiber optics.”
After that is accomplished, Smart said the city will have the option of allowing V1 to maintain it and run it, or the city can run it, while V1 continues to maintain it.
“We haven’t gotten to that point yet, we just need to get the fiber optic in the ground,” Smart said. “The grant writing process has already begun.”
In 2017, the city conducted a feasibility study of the areas in Minden that were not covered or up to standard, Smart said. Results showed that was a large part of the city.
“Right now, parts of the city don’t have fiber optic services, and you get bogged-down points,” he said. “At times when everyone is on the Internet, it’s pulling on data and it’s bogging down.”
Fiber optics, which will be installed underground, will provide a faster, better quality service, which will be helpful for families whose children are still using online schools, as well as companies that rely heavily on the Internet to handle business – whether at home or office.
“It will basically be like having a carrier, as you do now for your Internet,” Smart said. “If you want the fiber optic network, you will subscribe to the carrier – we haven’t actually named it yet, but it will be a low-market value provided through the city. We are not here to make a profit; we are here to provide solid Internet services.”
Through government programs, subscribers may be able to get free or reduced rate Internet, he added.
Partnering with V1Fiber means that company will take it from here, and it won’t cost the city anything, Smart said. “They will use grant funds.”
Smart said the city has lost new business leads due to lack of a fiber optic network, including a company that builds drones and relies heavily on Internet services.
At last Monday’s meeting of the Minden City Council, members voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with V1Fiber. Smart said the contract should be on the next council agenda.
Photo: Bonnie Culverhouse