Can’t get internet? Or is your connection too slow? Do you live in Ovid, Liberty, Bern, Dingle or Wardboro? You’re in luck, neighbor! Direct Communications, with assistance from several subcontractors, has been engaged by Bear Lake County to install fiberoptics to these communities using the federally-funded CARES grant and without charge. These locations met the criteria which the State of Idaho generated for rural communities to obtain a portion of the federal CARES Grant administered by the Idaho Department of Commerce. The grant moneys had been designated to provide for and to fund upgrades to rural communities’ broadband access and for new access where such services were not previously available. Bear Lake County’s application for funding showed the internet speed in these locales met the State’s criteria, making them eligible for the federal monies and giving the specified rural areas heightened internet connectivity.
The funds are not only placing underground fiberoptics in the highway right-of-way for many of the most rural parts of the county, but there is an added benefit to property owners. During the current but abbreviated installation period, a property owner in the communities where construction is underway may complete and submit a “Property Access Form” allowing installation of a line directly from the road right of way to an individual home (called a “drop”) and without cost to the owner.
In addition and even though the home connection is installed during this construction period if a “Property Access Form“ is completed and the line installed to the home, the property owner is not required to use the connection immediately. Instead, owners may decide at any time in the future that service is needed and call at that time to instruct that the home’s connection be activated. Monthly service fees will be assessed when activation occurs. To make use of the grant’s full benefits, the subcontractors and Direct Communications would like to install connections to homes while the construction crews are in the area for road right-of-way main lines, saving the home owner installation costs for a future “drop” between the adjacent road right of way and the home.
The federal grant making these improvements possible was instigated due to the current worldwide Nemesis: Covid-19 and its impacts. Through federal legislation designed to help bolster the U.S. economy, tax dollars were diverted from normal channels and sent to each state for distribution. Idaho chose to “bridge the gap” by setting aside a portion of its CARES grant to boost internet access for schools and rural communities. Ovid, Liberty, Bern, Dingle and Wardboro were found to be rural areas having a demonstrated need where access to internet services was not available or the broadband solutions in place had less than optimum speeds.
Call Direct Communication’s main office to learn if your home is eligible for these benefits in the service areas listed at 208.548.2345 or go online at https://directcom.com/idaho/index.php/propertyaccessform/ to complete and submit the “Property Access Form” to request installation of the new cable to an individual home.