KINGSBURG – If construction goes as planned, by the end of summer, Kingsburg residents and businesses will have the option of connecting to a new fiber optic network that will provide the city with high-speed internet services.
Last year, Kingsburg residents were asked to participate in an online survey, the purpose of which was to determine how best the city should use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The survey presented respondents with different city-centered projects and asked them to prioritize each project. Residents said that the installation of a fiber optic broadband infrastructure was most critical to the city’s needs.
The city negotiated the infrastructure proposal with Kingsburg Media Foundation (KBMF), ISP (internet service provider), and fiber optic provider CVIN/Vast Networks last August. Construction broke ground March 1, 2023.
“We’re finishing up phase one,” KBMF chief marketing officer Brian Griffin said. “We are pulling fiber for phase two and three.” Once all phases are completed, KBMF will begin connecting subscribers.
According to Griffin, if all goes as planned, the construction should be completed by the end of summer. Griffin said they are actually running ahead of schedule, but noted it is too early to know how many residents have decided to change ISPs.
“We have around 200 to 300 on our pre-sign list,” he said. He added it is possible that half of Kingsburg’s population – over 6,000 – may migrate to the new network.
The scope of the project is impressive. The infrastructure consists of fiber optic cable and conduit spread out over nearly 17 miles or roughly 90,500 feet. The construction process included directional boring, open trenching and micro-trenching. Strategically placed access points allow internet access for all homes and businesses via Wi-Fi; however, direct fiber connection is available depending upon location.
According to a buildout map presented to the city council, the project extends westward to Bethel Avenue. The southern boundary is East Clarkson Avenue at Kingsburg Cemetery. The northern boundary is East Kamm Avenue; the eastern boundary runs along South Madsen Street.
The city financed the project through a $2,200,000 loan to KBMF. The loan included $1,000,000 in ARPA funds. KBMF agreed to repay the loan over eight years at 4% interest, with the city earning over $374,000 in interest.
Notably, at the height of the COVID pandemic, Kingsburg city officials also received several complaints from citizens about poor internet speed and about the lack of existing internet options. In the recent survey, residents also responded that they wanted more public safety cameras installed throughout the city, which would affect the city’s network infrastructure.