Golden West held a town hall meeting last Thursday to discuss details surrounding their Fiber To The Home (FTTH) project. The local telecom is finalizing plans to install fiber optic infrastructure in Hot Springs as part of a overarching plan to provide legacy high speed broadband connectivity across rural South Dakota.

Regional contractors will be working with Golden West, breaking ground on Phase I of their project in May of this year. Tentative completion of Phase I is scheduled for late August, 2019. Phase II and total project completion is tentatively scheduled for 2020.

Design-build contractor, Hylan West, will work to complete the main construction portion of FTTH. Swift Electric will be in direct contact with Golden West customers to schedule component and wiring installation for the home. A team at Golden West has been at work handling easement, permit, and inspection challenges and will continue to work with residents of Hot Springs until upgrades are complete.   

The upgrading of Hot Spring's aging broadband infrastructure will be welcomed by residents looking for faster internet speeds and more robust cable television features.

Current broadband lines are made up of braided copper wire, prone to wear, signal interference, and limited bandwidth compared to fiber's potential. Significant signal attenuation over long distances can occur with DSL. Data throttling during peak usage hours can occur with Cable, slowing internet speeds to the customer.

Fiber optic technology uses thin, hair-like glass fibers to carry packets of data via pulses of light, greatly improving bandwidth with very little downside except one. Fiber optic carries increased cost and effort to install.   

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Thursday evening, Greg Oleson, Director of Marketing for Golden West was very clear about community impact and cost of their FTTH project: "The big question. Will Fiber to the Home raise rates?

Those in attendance were pleased to hear Mr. Oleson's emphatic, "No."

"Fiber to the Home and all of it's upgrades, in and of itself, will not raise your rates. We are not going to put fiber in the ground then turn around and say, hey now we have to pay for this fiber," Oleson explained.

Oleson continued, "Fiber to the Home, like most Golden West investments, is long-term. Rates can be impacted by a number of other things, including regulatory changes at the national level. But, we will not raise your rates simply because we put fiber in the ground and connected all your local businesses and homes."

Anyone requesting more information on Golden West's FTTH project can go to GoldenWest.com/FTTH or call 1-855-888-7777 and ask for the Engineering Department. 

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