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Commissioners designate broadband as essential infrastructure in Bozeman

Posted: 9:45 AM, Apr 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-22 11:45:50-04

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Last Monday, the Bozeman City Commission recognized broadband as essential infrastructure in the city, in an effort to keep technology moving forward locally.

“What would you do if you didn’t have access to the internet?” said Economic Development Director Brit Fontenot. “How would that impact your business, your relationships, your communications? And I would suggest that for most people, not everyone but for most people, that would have some negative impact if they were not able to have that connectivity.”

The commission voted 5-0 in favor of the resolution that recommends advancement in planning for technology across the community. Fontenot said as this is crucial because as Bozeman grows, copper wires won’t be able to handle the needs for more capacity.

“At a certain point, and I think we have gotten there, you can only squeeze so much more capacity out of a piece of copper,” said Fontenot.

Right now, Fontenot said when businesses call he can’t guarantee that if they move anywhere in Bozeman there will be a reliable, fast connection. However, he said if more fiber is placed in the ground it could considerably help in the economic future.

Founder of Elixiter Andrew Hull said because Bozeman continues to dedicate resources to fiber his company was publically traded.

“So I think there is direct benefit to these sorts of investments that the city makes,” said Hull.

“I believe that the high-speed fibers are absolutely essential to our motto of the most livable place,” said CEO of Bozeman Fiber Greg Metzger.

Over the years, Bozeman has invested more than $1 million in broadband.