Fiber to the Home plan boosting economy in Cherokee County

Fiber to the Home plan boosting economy in Cherokee County
COLUMBUS – At a time when many communities in Southeast Kansas are struggling economically, things are going well in Columbus. With a population around 3,200 in its immediate area located in Cherokee County, Columbus is home to a new Wal-Mart store, a bustling downtown with no empty or vacant storefronts, and the main headquarters of one of the biggest heavy contractor firms in the region – Crossland Construction.
For this recent increase in economic development in the community, Trish Carroll credits the effort to bring high-speed Internet to businesses and homes. Carroll is the general manager of the Columbus Telephone Company, a private-sector cooperative that has been meeting the communication needs of people in that city since 1905. She said that if it weren’t for fiber connectivity, a company like Crossland would not be able to send architectural drawings around the country in the timely fashion necessary for a business that size.
While efforts by the City of Chanute to bring high-speed Internet to homes proved politically controversial and are currently at a stalemate, Carroll’s company launched an effort to bring one gigabyte Internet service directly to all homes and businesses in Columbus in 2004. The project was self-funded through the cooperative, eventually costing approximately $6 million.
“Today, I don’t know that the build would have cost what it cost back then,” Carroll said. “More and more people are putting fiber in, so its cost is coming down. It’s the cost of installation – the labor side of it – that’s the expensive part of it. We’re fortunate that we’re working with a really good contractor here.”
Continue the article at
Brian McDowell