I want to start off this blog with what could be the most important topic of the time for Chanute's future- A Fiber to the Home project. Fiber to the Home (FTTH) is probably more accurately called Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) because the goal is to run fiber optic cable to as many homes and businesses as possible. There is no question that installing FTTP will be an expensive investment. There will be a lot of questions like- who gets it, how much will it cost, how long will it take to pay back, when will this happen, how do I use it, are there privacy concerns, is it worth it, can I live without it?
First, let me tell you a little bit about the fiber optics we already have in Chanute and why we developed it.
The City of Chanute started running fiber optic lines in the 1980's for the purpose of connecting our utility plants. Because of the high reliability of fiber optics, the city continued expanding that fiber to include our anchor institutions- hospital, clinics, schools, community college, public safety services. Major banks and businesses in Chanute have also seen the benefits of the high speed fiber optic network, and they have become important customers to leading to the expansion of Chanute's fiber optic service.
Now, let's consider what has changed and why we are considering expanding the services.
Technology has changed greatly since the 1980s and the need for more and faster internet speed continues to grow. Is it time to run fiber optics to every home and business? What are the public safety benefits? What are the health benefits? What are the educational benefits? What are business benefits? What are the innovation and economic benefits? How much money will Chanute keep in town by offering the service internally instead of sending our monthly payments to outside cable companies? What cost savings will our city gain by adding on automatic meter information, allowing residents and the utility departments to more efficiently conserve and control our energy use? Can we afford it? And, an equally important question, what will happen if we don't provide this service?