Funds Will Be Used to Expand the High-Speed Yellowstone Fiber Internet Network into Rural Parts of Gallatin County
SERVICE TURNED ON FOR FIRST CUSTOMERS IN LATE SEPTEMBER, PRE-SALES BEGIN IN SELECT PARTS OF THE COUNTY NEXT WEEK
(Bozeman, MT…..July 21, 2022) Just months after construction began on Montana’s first high-speed all-fiber internet network, officials at Yellowstone Fiber announced they will pursue bipartisan federal Infrastructure Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) funds to expand network construction in rural areas of Gallatin County. The funds will be used to connect homes, businesses, farms, and ranches to high-speed fiber internet, bringing badly-needed connectivity to rural sections of the county north of Bozeman. According to Greg Metzger, CEO, Yellowstone Fiber, Montana will receive a minimum of $100 million to expand high-speed broadband infrastructure to the nearly one-third of state residents who currently lack access, which includes more than 31% in Gallatin County, according to Microsoft data. Metzger also announced that Yellowstone Fiber’s first customers will be on-line in late September with pre-sales starting next week.
“This is an important milestone for Yellowstone Fiber and we’re enormously excited to announce we’ll have the network live in a matter of weeks, and that we will pursue BEAD funding—to expand our fiber network in rural areas of Gallatin County,” said Metzger. “For decades, people in rural Montana have been limited by slow and expensive internet service and empty promises by cable providers. Today’s announcement signals we’re serious about connecting rural Gallatin County to high-speed fiber and the limitless possibilities that it brings. Connecting Montana to high-speed fiber is as significant as rural electrification was eighty years ago,” he added.
Yellowstone Fiber is building an Open Access network, which means that Yellowstone builds, owns, and operates the fiber infrastructure, then leases space on its high-speed fiber to multiple service providers (internet, voice, video).
“Open Access models enables free market competition. This means once constructed, Yellowstone Fiber customers will experience better pricing, better service, and increased reliability,” said Metzger.
Yellowstone Fiber will bring speeds up to 100 Gigabits per second (Gbps) for businesses and 10 Gbps for residential to all its customers. Fiber is considered “future-proof infrastructure” as it lasts for decades and transmits data at the speed of light. As technology and community needs evolve, Yellowstone’s fiber infrastructure can easily adapt.
But broadband speeds have eluded the region for years. Montana remains one of the least-connected states in the nation and about a third of Gallatin County residents lack access to service. Construction of the Yellowstone Fiber network began in February and will continue past 2025. The first customer is slated to go-live this fall.