County, Syringa Networks officials meet

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Photo by Josh McDonald A marker shows one of the vaults that allow access to the conduit where technicians with Syringa Networks have been laying fiber optic lines near I-90.

WALLACE — Representatives with Syringa Networks met with the Shoshone Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) earlier this week to discuss their progress as they continue to lay a fiber optic broadband internet network inside conduit that runs along I-90.

The meeting was also a way for the company and the BOCC to gauge each entity’s interest in the other.

“We are right on schedule to be in Kellogg at the end of October,” Syringa Networks senior account manager Bill Coale said.

The BOCC has expressed an great interest in bringing Shoshone County’s facilities into the 21st century and Coale’s products can help make that happen.

“We here in the courthouse are lucky to get the full internet speed we pay for,” BOCC chairman Mike Fitzgerald said. “We have people trying to send these massive files back and forth, especially in our assessor’s office and when such little bandwidth available, it has become difficult.”

Making data sharing experiences easier for the different departments and offices, easier and quicker report filing for our Sheriff’s Office, and having the capability of holding video conferences for court proceedings from the adjacent public safety building are just some of the benefits that faster, more reliable internet can bring to Shoshone County.

“We would definitely be interested in seeing the service not just here in Wallace at the courthouse and jail, but available in Smelterville, where we have our airport and one of our county shops,” Fitzgerald said. “I think we would like to see it potentially in Pinehurst and Osburn where we have other facilities that we utilize.”

Coale reiterated once again that while working with the county as a whole is definitely a possibility, providing his company’s services to residents is not something he can do.

“We don’t do residential services,” Coale said, “we only do businesses. Now that’s not saying we can’t provide our business to the local providers who can then turn around and sell it to residents though.”

To most, broadband internet simply means faster and more reliable internet services compared to what users currently have, but the arrival of broadband has the potential to open up a range of possibilities that have never before been available in the Silver Valley.

According to Loren Whitten-Kaboth, the director of the Silver Valley Economic Development Corporation, during an interview earlier this year, the arrival of broadband would be a major selling point for new businesses and economic growth.

“Broadband is important for economic development and growth of new businesses and the expansion of current businesses,” Whitten-Kaboth said. “With 88 percent of businesses (according to a 2013 survey) stating that having an Internet connection is critical for their business, this is an important issue economically for the county and businesses. Businesses also indicate they are willing to pay more for faster broadband.”

For more information on the services Syringa Networks hopes to bring to Shoshone County call Bill Coale at (208) 229-6179.

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