The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 25, 2014

Carl Junction seeks funding for fiber network

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — A representative from the U.S. Department of Agriculture met with city officials last week to further discuss possible funding for the installation of a $5.8 million fiber-optic network.

City Administrator Steve Lawver said the representative, from Columbia, toured Carl Junction on Wednesday and went through an application that will ultimately be sent to Washington, D.C., for consideration.

The application will request funding from the USDA Rural Utilities Service Broadband Initiative to cover the installation, including the conduits, fiber optics and electronics, and a central office where the electronics would be stored.

A feasibility study conducted in Carl Junction in 2012 said the city would reap several benefits from building a fiber-optic network.

The study examined services provided to Carl Junction by three broadband providers and found that a city-owned fiber-optic network connected to homes and businesses would present the shortest upload and download times for digital information.

Lawver said with ultra-high-speed Internet, “Your limits pretty much go away.”

Carl Junction has an “unbelievable array of home-based businesses,” Lawver said, and a fiber-optic network with dedicated service to each home or business would allow users to download and upload at 1,000 megabits per second. Lawver said he saw a demonstration on such a network in which the 162-minute movie “Avatar” was downloaded in four seconds.

If the city were to build the network, service providers would enter a contractual agreement to use it to offer digital services — Internet, cable and phone, for example — to subscribers. Lawver said it’s strictly a subscription-based revenue model — those who don’t subscribe don’t pay.

Once Lawver has completed the application, a hard copy will be sent to Columbia for the representative’s approval and recommendation. Then it will be sent to Washington, D.C., for final consideration.

Completing the application will take about a month, but Lawver said he is speeding up the process by sending the information to Columbia as he fills it in.

Lawver said there is no time frame for when officials will be notified if the city has been approved for the funding.

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