Ground Breaking: One-Year Project to Add Fiber Network

Big River Communications has broken ground on its new fiber optic network to provide high-speed internet service in Poplar Bluff, company President Kevin Cantwell said Tuesday while describing the faster connection as “the future for all of us to be successful.”

“It’s exciting. We’re not only delivering the network of the future, but it’s going to be priced so it’s affordable,” Cantwell told city officials and others gathered for a celebration Tuesday.

Service up to 10 gigabits will be available to businesses.

Dubbed “Circle Fiber,” the network, Cantwell said, is expected to take about one year to build out.

“This didn’t happen overnight. We’ve been planning for probably the last seven or eight months,” Cantwell explained. The Poplar Bluff service area will be part of a much larger overall network, Cantwell said.

“We started in Jackson and we’re rolling into Cape and Poplar Bluff,” he said. “Our overall picture is to go from Crystal City down to Poplar Bluff and over to Sikeston and back up. I call that our golden triangle.” The overall project, he estimates, will take five years to complete.

The city of Poplar Bluff will be divided into 17 zones, Cantwell said, each serving between 600 and 720 customers, though the zones have not been determined yet and will be based on early demand.

Inside the city limits, said Spectrum Engineering’s Rod Sibery, who is helping to design the network, “it’s close to 168 miles” of fiber line to be installed. New fiber optic lines will be installed on existing poles, Cantwell noted, though some will be buried when conditions warrant.

Circle Fiber will be sending notifications to residents when crews will be installing lines in their area, Cantwell said, to notify them of what they will be seeing and to offer the new service.

Residents will be offered the opportunity to have the fiber optic connection installed on their house, even if they choose not to purchase internet service from Circle Fiber, Cantwell said. Even without signing up for service, Cantwell said, studies have shown “having a fiber connection to your house adds a 3.1% increase in the value to your house.”

Citing a continuing investment in the city, Cantwell said, Circle Fiber will be opening a retail store location in Poplar Bluff as well, once the network is completed. “We’re committed to the community,” he said.

“It’s exciting, and it’s exciting to have options,” said Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce President Steve Halter of the new network’s potential. “This is the direction we need to go.”

To read the full article from the Daily American Republic, click here.