Emmett started installing fiber optic cable six months ago to link all city facilities with broadband services. Eventually the southwestern Idaho city plans to extend fiber optic into the community and use the technology to recruit high-tech businesses.
Emmett looks to join Ammon, the eastern Idaho city that is one of only 455 U.S. cities with publicly owned fiber optics available. Fiber optic allows much faster – even limitless – broadband service, said Mike Knittel, Emmett’s systems administrator.
“Business in the 21st century is driven by broadband,” Emmett Mayor Gordon Petrie said. “Idaho is one of the least connected states in the union. We intend to change that by making Emmett one of the most connected communities in Idaho. We’ll have the infrastructure to support high-tech business.”
Emmett so far has installed fiber optic cable to a few downtown blocks to link City Hall, the Public Safety Building, Emmett City Park (which now has free wi-fi) and the water tower. Public works will be hooked up in a few weeks, and within nine months fiber optic should reach the fire department and library.
The park and water tower were wired through existing conduit and the fire department and library cable installation will be paired with scheduled water line work in the next nine months. Knittel wants to time all the fiber-optic installation with other utility digs.
Over the next five years, Knittel wants to encircle the city of 6,500 residents with fiber optic, always keeping in mind the potential for the public and high-tech business as customers of the municipal service.
“A ring is what is necessary to attract these companies,” Knittel said.
Emmett leaders visited Ammon for fiber optic insights. That eastern Idaho city’s municipally owned fiber optic system is viewed as one of the nation’s most technologically advanced.