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I’ve long been interested in fiber optic Internet for Cache Valley. However, it’s likely going to be a long time coming, since it’s not in the interests of local telecom providers to make upgrades when people are already over-paying for the outdated service we already have here in the valley.

It’s no secret that I’m not particularly happy with my current Internet service, and I’m especially unhappy after I travel almost anywhere else and enjoy access to speeds and service that are much better. I may have access to “up to” 25 MB when it comes to speed, but the reality is that I rarely come close. I thought about paying for a package that allows for “up to” 40 MB but decided against it because I know I’ll never get to that point, unless I’m on at 3 a.m. — and I’m already over-paying as it is.

If only Google Fiber would venture this far north.

But maybe we don’t need Google Fiber. One area of Cache Valley is getting hooked up with fiber optic Internet. That area is the Providence Highlands development, and CenturyLink is bringing it in. It’s true that I have doubts about CenturyLink (my experiences with Qwest weren’t very good), but maybe I could get over them with good fiber Internet service.

I’m not the only one who would like to see quality Internet service come to our corner of the world. “Cache Valley consumers are becoming more and more sophisticated when it comes to technology,” says Josh Low, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Gold Key Realty. He’s selling lots in Providence Highlands, and sees the benefits of upgrading to fiber optics. “Homes that are more technically advanced definitely have a leg up when it comes to resell.”

There are plenty of benefits to fiber optics. Jackie Lalor, a CenturyLink representative, points out that some of the benefits of fiber optics include:

• Ideal for watching HD movies online

• Perfect for video chatting

• Several individuals can be online at the same time without slowing the connection

In my world, these are definite benefits. As more people in Cache Valley turn to streaming options like Netflix and Hulu, and experiment with ditching cable and satellite, fiber optics can be a great help. Have you tried to stream a movie in HD after your Internet provider has decided that your “data bucket” is full for the day? It’s not pretty.

As a consumer, I like to think I’m able to get the best bang for my buck, but the Internet service I receive doesn’t allow me to take full advantage of the technology I have. It’s very frustrating.

As a home business owner, my Internet service is even more annoying. Video meetings with clients and partners are sometimes stilted because of data restrictions. And, of course, the more people using the Internet in your home, the slower everything is. Lalor says that CenturyLink is offering speeds of up to 100 MB per second, and that more capability could be available in the future.

What’s more, those speeds wouldn’t be significantly affected by the fact that you’re having a video conference at the same time your child is streaming a show in HD on the TV and your spouse is streaming the baseball game in HD on his tablet.

Fiber is more expensive, though, and that is one of the sticking points. Google Fiber charges $120 per month (plus taxes and fees) for up to 1GB per second and adds a $30 construction fee. Lalor wouldn’t disclose prices to me, but said that CenturyLink is offering a deal that locks in the price for five years.

When you think of replacing your cable/satellite TV, and switching to VoIP phone service with the help of fiber optics, suddenly the price doesn’t seem so terrible. If you could cut down on your other telecom services, you could very well come out ahead with fiber, depending on your needs. Since I use the Internet a lot personally and professionally, and since fiber would make it feasible to ditch the satellite TV, we’d be ahead.

So far, fiber in Cache Valley is limited, but CenturyLink says it’s looking to expand, and if Providence Highlands is a success, other companies might decide to come to the valley.


Miranda Marquit is a freelance writer living in Logan. She can be reached at mirandamarquit@gmail.com.

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