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New telecommunications coming

Staff writer

The rural communities in northern Marion County will soon have a communication system that will be second to none.

Tri-County Telephone Association, Inc. is replacing the existing copper wire in its network with optical fiber. The fiber is composed of glass and uses light instead of electricity to carry a signal.

Fiber-optic technology is the most advanced technology available.

According to Angela Schwedifeger, director of public relations for TCT, optical fiber installation will increase the speed of service from the current average of 20 megabits per second to as much as 100 megabits per second, allowing for enhanced services such as faster Internet speeds, more HD channels, video on demand, and pay-per-view.

TCT currently offers Internet service and digital TV in addition to local and long distance telephone service.

The cooperative has contracted with engineering and construction firms to do the work. The update is a four-year project that began last year in Council Grove.

Most of the mainline fiber-optic cable was installed several years ago when copper lines were buried underground. Most future construction will entail laying fiber-optic cable from the main line to individual buildings. A battery backup will be installed in each building, to maintain a dial tone in case of power outages, Schwedifeger said.

The $54 million upgrade will be done at no cost to customers.

Tri-County Telephone, Inc. is a cooperative owned by members in several counties. The network includes the communities of Lincolnville, Lost Springs, Ramona, and Tampa in Marion County.

Representatives of the engineering firm RVW, Inc. are currently surveying homes and businesses in the area. When the survey is complete, installation will begin.

“TCT is pleased that we are able to offer our customers the latest in technology,” Schwedifeger said. “FTTH (Fiber to the Home) will greatly enhance the quality and performance of subscribers’ telephone, high speed Internet, and digital television services, allowing customers to enjoy a level of service that is currently only available in much larger cities.”

Last modified Feb. 18, 2010

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