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RGTC’s fiber optic cable project will deliver broadband internet
In Crawford County
RGTC fiber optic cable project map
THE RGTC FIBER OPTIC PROJECT will be constructed in parts of Clay-ton, Scott and Haney townships. The area to be included is outlined on this map.

The Richland Grant Telephone Co-operative plans to begin the installation this year of a fiber optic cable to the premises system to deliver broadband internet to underserved residences in Clayton, Scott and Haney townships in Crawford County. 

The fiber optic project, designed to provide service to 393 rural residences and at least one business, was made possible in part by a $2,364,000 million grant of ARPA funds that was awarded by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission recently.

RGTC Operations Manager Josh Lien explained that ARPA funding was crucial to allowing the telephone co-operative to take on the $5,667,237 project.

RGTC installed fiber optic cable for its members in 2014 and 2015. The project replaced copper cable that had delivered DSL service to the RGTC members in Crawford County beginning in about 2000.

The new project will bring the same fiber optic system to customers who are not current members of RGTC. Those choosing to receive service from RGTC under the new project will become Class B members of the Richland Grant Telephone Co-operative, according to Lien. The Class B members will not have voting rights or earn capital credits like other RGTC members do.

However, the new RGTC Class B members will have most everything else the current RGTC members have and that includes broadband internet with speeds as high as a gigabyte. Prices will be the same as current members and that means at the slowest fiber optic speed offered, a 30 mbps download and a 15 mbps upload, it will cost $63. Higher speeds are available for nominal price increases. For instance 120 mbps down and 60 mbps up is currently $85. In addition to the broadband internet, the Class B members will also be able to choose to receive high-definition television with  a large variety of channels and even a landline phone.

The new members will need to pay a one-time connection fee of $150 to have the fiber optic cable brought to their residence.

However, Lien did ask potential new customers to be patient. The operations manager emphasized that there’s no need to call RGTC prior to the installation of the fiber optic cable. Lien wanted customers to hold off calling and wait for RGTC to contact them when the service becomes available at some point in the future.

Currently, RGTC believes installation of the cable can begin next year. The co-op has supplies on hand and believes contractors are available for the installation.

Lien did acknowledge the supply chain problems are plaguing the availability of telecommunications equipment of all kinds, just like so many other things that are in short supply at the moment.

Yet there’s plenty of reason for folks in the fiber optic project area to be hopeful. RGTC has been delivering service to their members for 70 years and has a proven capability to deliver internet service in Crawford County for over 20 years, including providing fiber optic cable to the premises for their members for the past six or seven years.

It has been a long wait for those without broadband internet access in Crawford County, but it appears that wait will be ending in the near future.