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Cuba City chosen for fiber-optic
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CUBA CITY—Faster Internet is quickly becoming an option for Cuba City. CS Technologies and LaGrant Telephone Company in Cuba City will establish approximately 45 miles of new fiber-optic lines in the city of Cuba City this fall.

“We look to hook up 884 homes and businesses in Cuba City for a 100 percent conversion from a copper plant to a fiber plant to expand broadband capabilities in the area,” Donn Wilmott, CEO of CS Technologies in Eldridge, Iowa, said. “Thisproject is making the community future proof. It will enhance the speeds available today.”

Cuba City residents and businesses currently have 3, 12 and 20 mbps (megabits per second) options for Internet. With the fiber-optic installed, 50, 150 and 300 mbps options will be available. In time, LaGrant Telephone Company will convert its telephone services to fiber-optic as well.

Cuba City was chosen for the project because of needed updates to its copper system, which was installed in the 1970’s.
“Through the budget process, we looked at updating the capabilities due to the age and condition of the copper plant in Cuba City,” Wilmott said. “We saw Cuba City as an ideal place to do copper replacement. The copper is currently functioning properly, it just can’t offer the kinds of speeds we would like for the community.”

Crews will start work this fall, typically Monday through Thursdays . Significant underground facilities will be created throughout the city over the next few months. Wilmott said the project is scheduled to be completed in spring 2017.

“Every home will be contacted to determine the best path to bring the fiber-optic line into the home,” Wilmott said. “It might not be where the copper lines currently are located because of remodeled homes and such. We plan to interact with the residents to determine the best locations.”

The project is broken into three phases: installation of the “backbone” infrastructure this fall, running lines from the curb to the homes start-ing this fall and turning on all customers’ new service in the first few months of 2017.

“The lines will be 100 percent underground and brand new,” Wilmott said.

Wilmott said this is a $2.5 million investment in the Cuba City community, excluding the company’s own labor and costs.

“It’s a substantial investment for these 884 homes and businesses,” Wilmott said. “It future-proofs these homes. Whatever their needs are in the future, there is the ability to provide up to 1,000 mbps to homes. Whatever the future holds for technology or what the market demands, we will be able to support it.”

There will be no initial cost to the users for the installation of the fiber-optic lines. The same speeds will be available for the same prices. Additional options will be available at higher prices for higher speeds.

“The fiber in Cuba City will be two to three times faster than other companies in the area,” Wilmott said. “Fiber is a better medium than copper or wireless. There are no limits of what can be downloaded like we see on the other services.”

Wilmott said he reached out to Cuba City Mayor Tom Gile early in the process to discuss the possibility of the project.

“He was excited to hear about the investment in the city,” Wilmott said. “A cooperation with the city is helpful for a project like this.”

CS Technologies is also constructing 16 miles of fiber-optic lines in the city of Dubuque this fall to service mainly businesses. The project uses the city’s infrastructure to cut costs.

“The city [of Dubuque] is giving us access to conduit and in return we will connect the city’s emergency operation center, landfill, three schools and a fire station to fiber optics,” Wilmott said. “It’s been a very positive partnership.”
That project should wrap up in October.