June 23, 2022

interteiment

Innovation Leader

Fast installation of fiber internet in Idaho leading to issues with area and locals

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

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — With lots of federal funding available, there’s been a “mad rush” to get faster, higher quality fiber internet installed, said Leon Duce, Rathdrum city administrator, as reported by the Coeur d’Alene Press.

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

For some, like Pete Randles, Ziply Fiber has been working in and around their yards. Randles stated on the Rathdrum Community News Facebook page that Ziply damaged “1000 feet of highway frontage on highway 53.”

Randles said he went to the city seeking repair of the damage. He said “the city of Rathdrum signed a contract with (Ziply) with promises to repair all damages. The city will not enforce the agreement.”

But the matter isn’t that simple.

Ryan Luckin, Ziply vice president of marketing and Communications, told The Press Thursday that Ziply representatives meet weekly with city officials, discussing “any issues, and any repairs that need doing.” Ziply is committed to repairing the damage, but it takes some time, he said.

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

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

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

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

Though McClure hasn’t tested his sprinklers yet, he’s hopeful Ziply will stay true to their word if any damage was done.

As far as contracts with Ziply go, it is a “one-time franchise agreement” with the state of Idaho, Duce said. With that agreement in place, the city of Rathdrum must grant Ziply the needed permits to conduct fiber wire installation.

Another point of confusion is that much of Ziply’s work is done in public easements, Luckin said. The work is often done adjacent to telephone poles and “pedestal” structures that are all part of public infrastructure. Phone and internet services are considered a “critical public need,” Luckin said.

“We have right of way access to work on those,” Luckin said. “But placement can affect 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 with homeowners directly prior to starting any work.”

Whether alleged damages will be repaired remains to be seen. In the meantime, Luckin said Ziply is “really excited to be in Rathdrum bringing fiber to the city.”

With the prevalence these days of working from home and online school, for example, an “upgraded internet standard” is vital to the community, he said.

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

The Coeur d’Alene Press is a KREM 2 News partner. For more news from our partners, click here.

https://www.krem.com/article/news/local/idaho/installation-of-fiber-internet-in-idaho-leading-to-issues/293-c53cdda0-1da9-4eb5-b70c-f47d2fefdd4b