Cunningham Telephone & Cable has received a broadband grant award by the Kansas Department of Commerce through the Lasting Infrastructure and Network Connectivity (LINC) program to expand their fiber network in rural Republic County. Cunningham is slated to build approximately 30 miles of new middle-mile fiber into the rural areas between Belleville, Scandia, Rydal, Republic and Concordia. This new fiber ‘highway’ will bring new communications access to these underserved areas for internet, streaming video, phone services, circuits for cellular providers and even other internet providers to help bring more connectivity to rural Republic County.
Due to the sparse population in rural areas, this grant award helps bring new broadband access for residents and businesses who have traditionally been too cost prohibitive to reach with fiber access. Customers in this new project area will have access to the same Cunningham fiber services as residents inside the city limits of Concordia or Belleville including 1Gbps (1000Mbps) symmetrical internet speeds. Maps of the new service areas can be found at Cunningham’s website www.ctcfiber.net.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the Summer of 2024 and fiber Internet could be made available as soon as summer of 2025.
“Fiber optics provide the fastest speeds and the lowest latency of any technology type available. It’s also scalable and should provide for our customers’ needs for decades to come. We’re excited to offer it not only to our business customers but to have that same internet access available for our residential customers too,” says Cunningham Telephone & Cable General Manager, Brent Cunningham. “It’s a boon for the economic development of Republic County and it levels the playing field for our rural areas for remote work opportunities, telehealth and online educational services. This is a phase 1 to get the initial core routes deep into the rural underserved areas of Republic County that will hopefully be followed up by a phase 2, 3, 4, etc. through grant partnerships to help get great access for everyone.”
According to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), the average American household needs a minimum of 100 Mbps download by 20 Mbps upload to take advantage of the e-learning, telehealth, remote workplace, social media, video communication, gaming, and/or streaming capabilities that the Internet has to offer. Speeds up to 1 Gig download by 1 Gig upload are recommended for businesses and for households with multiple devices such as computers, tablets, smart TVs, Smart Home devices, and smart phones. The expansion of the Cunningham fiber network in rural Republic County will allow for over 1 Gig synchronous speeds and is scalable for the future needs of the community.
Cunningham Telephone & Cable is dedicated to expanding its fiber footprint to underserved rural areas of Republic County. They continue to apply for broadband funding opportunities provided by both state and federal agencies, as well as continue to invest their own funds into serving the communities. “We are continuing to apply for available broadband grants to help with construction costs of new rural fiber projects,” said Brent. “The end goal is to fill in all the gaps so that everyone in Republic County has access to good broadband.”
Cunningham will contact potential customers along this project route during the summer of 2024. For more information, visit www.ctcfiber.net or call one of our local offices. Glen Elder 785-545-3215, Belleville 785-527-2226 or Concordia 785-243-4068