Rapid installation of fiber optic internet in Idaho, causing problems with the region and the inhabitants


Rathdrum residents are divided on Ziply Fiber’s quality of service in the area, as the company provides internet with federal funding.

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — With plenty of federal funding available, there’s been a “crazy rush” to install faster, higher-quality fiber-optic internet, Rathdrum City Administrator Leon Duce said. reported it on Coeur d’Alene Press.

But Rathdrum residents are divided on the quality of Ziply Fiber’s service.

For some, like Pete Randles, Ziply Fiber has worked in and around their yards. Randles said on the Rathdrum Community News Facebook page that Ziply damaged “1,000 feet of frontage on Highway 53.”

Randles said he drove into town to repair the damage. He said “The Town of Rathdrum has signed a contract with (Ziply) with promises to repair all damages. The city will not enforce the agreement.

But the thing is not so simple.

Ryan Luckin, Ziply’s vice president of marketing and communications, told reporters Thursday that Ziply representatives meet weekly with city officials, discussing “any issues and any repairs that need to be done.” . Ziply is committed to repairing the damage, but it takes time, he said.

“Our perspective is that when we do fiber construction, we want to leave an area as good or better than we found it,” Luckin said. “But in Idaho, the weather gets in the way.”

Luckin, based in the Everett, Wash., area, said Ziply sometimes does temporary repairs and sometimes the ground freezes. He said Ziply was “watching all of the construction very closely.”

Resident Derick McClure reported on Facebook that there was no damage to his yard and said he was very pleased with the faster internet service and lower price.

“I also spoke with the Ziply rep who came to my door and he assured me that Ziply would take care of any damage to the irrigation systems,” McClure said.

Although McClure has yet to test his sprinklers, he hopes Ziply will keep his word in the event of damage.

As for the contracts with Ziply, it’s a “one-time franchise agreement” with the state of Idaho, Duce said. With this agreement in place, the City of Rathdrum must grant Ziply the necessary permits to perform the fiber optic cable installation.

Another point of confusion is that much of Ziply’s work is done in public easements, Luckin said. Work is often performed near telephone poles and “pedestal” structures which are all part of the public infrastructure. Phone and internet services are considered an “essential public need,” Luckin said.

“We have a right of way to work on those,” Luckin said. “But the placement may affect the difficulty of installation.”

Often home and business owners maintain public easement spaces adjacent to their property.

“We always knock on the door and leave a door hanger,” Luckin said. “Most of the time we speak directly with the owners before starting work.”

It remains to be seen whether the alleged damage will be repaired. In the meantime, Luckin said Ziply is “really thrilled to be in Rathdrum bringing fiber to the city.”

With the current prevalence of working from home and online schooling, for example, an “improved internet standard” is vital for the community, he said.

Ziply Fiber celebrates two years of business in May. Rathdrum is one of 70 new markets for Ziply.

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