People in Salina will soon see a new name and option at the area’s Internet service providers with fiber internet for residents coming to the city.
The Salina City Commission approved a license agreement to allow Clearwave Fiber to install fiber optic cable in the city’s public right-of-way.
“Clearwave Fiber is a newly formed company focused on expanding their network in the state of Kansas,” said Dean Andrew, zonal administrator for the city.
Clearwave is based in Georgia; Headquartered in Savannah, It has entered other states over the past year.
“You don’t hear about many communities in Kansas that have (fiber Internet), and that’s exactly what we’re looking to (expand) here,” said Kala Maxfield, Clearwave’s market development manager.
Kansas City, Kansas-based Clearwave was able to acquire Clearwave in March 2022, which would have allowed the company to set foot in the state, Maxfield said.
“At RG Fiber … they have (installed) fiber in the ground in a lot of places already,” Maxfield said.
Expanding high-speed Internet beyond large cities.
One of Clearwave’s visions is to provide broadband Internet access, defined by the Federal Communications Commission as 25 megabits per second, in areas traditionally underserved or not served at those speeds.
“Governor (Laura) Kelly has put forward some new indicators for broadband (access) in Kansas, and we know the state is underperforming,” Maxfield said.
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Maxfield said companies like Clearwave have opened the door for access to serving some of those communities.
“For many (of these communities), these people haven’t had access to adequate broadband for years, and that’s something we want to get back to Kansas,” Maxfield said.
People who work from home Maxfield said having reliable Internet connections is important for residents on days when they’re watching entertainment or even using telehealth services.
“We’re looking to expand to over 500,000 homes across the country in the next five years,” Maxfield said. “Kansas really fits the mold of the opportunity we want to expand on.”
Fiber is the ‘wave of the future’
According to Maxfield, having a fiber optic connection in the community is one way to bring Salina up to speed with technology.
“Fiber really is the wave of the future,” Maxfield said. “It has unlimited possibilities, and the reliability you get with fiber is truly unmatched by any other medium.”
One of the reasons for this reliability is that the speeds going to the user are consistent.
“You’ll have the same download and upload speeds,” Maxfield said.
These speeds are the same and the reliability of the connection is healthcare; It can be a boon in many areas of life, including working from home or playing online games.
“When a doctor is reading a report at a hospital, those results have to be sent to someone or a specialist in New York City… Having that same download and upload speed really helps with connectivity and how fast it can move,” Maxfield said.
According to Maxfield, the average home has around 20 connected devices, which is significantly more than five years ago.
“From your thermostat, to your refrigerator, to your garage door, to your child’s tablet, to your phone, to your TV, every device is connected to the Internet,” says Maxfield.
Because all of these are connected to the same Internet connection, they are sharing bandwidth and speed. This can cause problems when using multiple devices at the same time.
“There’s nothing more frustrating than a video call when someone is trying to stream their TV service or watch Netflix,” Maxfield said. “If you’re trying to talk to grandma, too, or if your kids are doing schoolwork online and (things start) to stop.”
Having fast service and good connectivity like fiber will allow people to do all of this without interruption, she said.
When will people start seeing Clearwave in Salina? How much does fiber cost?
After approving the agreement with the city. Maxfield said he expects Clearwave to move forward quickly to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
Getting the word out to the community about the service and the company is one of the first steps Clearwave is taking.
“People will see (the presence) in the next 60 days,” Maxfield said.
This part includes putting up billboards and sending mails to households.
Maxfield said Clearwave expects to begin construction next spring as far as implementing the fiber network is concerned.
supply chains; She said a number of factors, including weather and other factors, make it difficult to determine when service will be available to residents, but she wants Salina to know that Clearwave is committed to the community.
“Implementing (and) installing broadband infrastructure is very expensive,” Maxfield said. “That’s why (existing) providers didn’t just turn around and upgrade their networks yesterday. It’s expensive and there’s a lot of upfront costs.”
Taking on this cost, which Maxfield says will cost Salina millions of dollars, means Clearwave is investing in the city’s future.
“We are 100% funding (this investment) ourselves,” Maxfield said. “We (the city) do not provide any grant or matching funding.”
That investment and commitment to the community isn’t just about building the initial infrastructure. Maxfield said Clearwave is aiming for a presence in the city.
“We don’t believe in remote management,” Maxfield said. “There will be a face with the person (name).”
Once Clearwave Fiber is in place in the city, Maxfield said it will be available to people throughout the community at competitive rates.
Current rates for the service are 250 megabits per second (Mbps); It starts at $75 for 500 Mbps and $85 for its Fiber 1 Gig plan with 1,000 Mbps.
Maxfield says these speeds represent upload and download and are not limited to those rates. Includes unlimited data.