City receives update on fiber optics installation

Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Craig Wilbert, general manager for Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative, speaks to the Fort Scott City Commission about the company’s future plans to install more fiber optic cables throughout Fort Scott. Bob Guilfoyle, right, Craw-Kan plant superintendent, listens in.
Jason E. Silvers

Representatives of the Girard-based Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative updated the Fort Scott City Commission on Oct. 2 on the company’s continuing plans for a fiber optic buildout within the city.

In late 2017, the company began working with the city on installation of fiber. The company is currently finishing up fiber work in Pittsburg and plan to have multiple teams in Fort Scott in the coming weeks and months performing installation of fiber optic cables underground.

“The city has been fantastic to work with,” Craw-Kan General Manager Craig Wilbert said. “We’ve done some limited work around town. Things are starting to happen in Fort Scott. We’re getting ready to break ground in 2019.”

Craw-Kan Plant Superintendent Bob Guilfoyle updated commissioners on areas where fiber has already been installed and areas where it will be installed soon. He said more crews will be brought into town soon, and there are several locations needed for the installation.

“We’ve built out in the industrial park and a few other places,” he said. “There’s fiber at the airport and golf course … and soon at the water treatment plant.”

Guilfoyle said the company is “excited” to be in Fort Scott to provide high-speed internet services. He said the plan is for the buildout to occur “in big chunks.”

“We’ve been working all summer. Things will ramp up within the next few weeks and we’ll be relocating some utility lines,” he said. “We’re just asking citizens to be patient while we build out.”

City Manager Dave Martin thanked the company for its commitment to Fort Scott.

“We are excited you are here to provide this service for our residents,” Martin said. “We’ve tried to work and bring companies to the table … but they haven’t due to cost. We need it.”

Wilbert said the company is also preparing to kick off a marketing campaign for its services.

“It’s gonna be a lot of work, but we’ll get it done,” Guilfoyle said. “And the city is not spending any money (in the cooperative.)”

The company’s price of $70 per month for high-speed internet “matches what Google Fiber in Kansas City did when they started,” Wilbert said.

In September 2017, the commission approved an exchange agreement between the city and Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative, Inc., for fiber-related services.

Dustin McClure, the city’s former director of information technology, told commissioners the agreement with the company involves no exchange of money. Each entity in the agreement plans to provide services. The city has vacant conduit and Craw-Kan will install 6.75 miles of fiber to connect the water treatment plant to Woodland Hills Golf Course to the Fort Scott Municipal Airport.

The city will grant an easement for a fiber node at the golf course, according to minutes from the Sept. 7, 2017 meeting.

According to the agreement, the city owns one vacant 1 1/4-inch duct that runs generally north and south along Judson Street with spurs along Third, Fifth and Ninth streets. In return for the benefits to the city outlined in the agreement, the city agrees to permit Craw-Kan to place a fiber optic cable in this conduit for the exclusive use of Craw-Kan. Total distance of the duct is about 1.3 miles.

The city had requested a six-strand fiber optic connection between the Bourbon County Courthouse and Water Treatment Plant, six fiber strands from the water plant to Woodland Hills Golf Course, and six fiber strands between the golf course and Fort Scott Municipal Airport. Total distance between these four locations is about 6.75 miles of fiber.

Craw-Kan will splice the six fiber strands to obtain connectivity between these locations once the city has installed buried service entry fibers to Craw-Kan’s access points located near each location. Craw-Kan will install a vacant conduit for the city from Fifth and Judson going south to Ninth and Judson for the city’s exclusive use.

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