Broadband accessibility has seemingly become a recent topic of conversation among state and federal lawmakers. As the push for providing internet access to underserved communities continues, a small town in Oneida County has enjoyed an advanced fiber network for nearly a decade. The culmination of one local company’s multi-million-dollar investment, thousands of man-hours, and a vision for the future helped transform Malad City into the state’s first 100% fiber-connected community.
ATC Communications, one of the valley’s local internet providers, was the backbone of this achievement. We built an advanced fiber network in Malad, a project the communications industry has coined FTTH (Fiber-To-The-Home). FTTH is the next-generation level of internet connectivity and is commonly referred to as the gold standard since it can deliver internet at ridiculously fast speeds.
Most households in Idaho have an internet connection but only 29% of Idahoans have access to fiber-optic service. Among the top counties in the state with 1 Gig access, Oneida County is in the top ten with 80.5% of the population having access. At the top of that list is Ada County with 96%. (BroadbandNow, 2023, www.broadbandnow.com/Idaho). According to Malad resident, Paul Richard, fiber connectivity was a key factor in the decision to move to Malad. “I was looking for a new place to live and work,” Paul said. “I work from home at times, and I need fast and reliable internet to make that possible. Moving to Malad City was based on the fact that it has fiber optic internet.” With more people having the option to work from home, fiber allows them to enjoy a small-town rural community and still have big city speed.