MISSOULA, Mont.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Blackfoot Communications today announced plans to invest more than $76 million in fiber-based broadband in rural Montana. The investment is being made possible by more than $60 million in ConnectMT grants awarded by the State of Montana with Blackfoot contributing more than $16 million to fully fund the project.
“Blackfoot Communications is proud to put these funds to work in rural Montana,” said Jason Williams, CEO. “Access to high-speed internet is essential for businesses, education and families, and these grants help us reach underserved communities in Western Montana. As a Montana-based company with nearly 70 years of experience building and operating networks, we look forward to continuing to help strengthen rural communities across Western Montana and connecting more Montana businesses, schools and homes to fast, reliable broadband.”
Blackfoot Communications was awarded seven grants to deliver broadband to the following counties: Granite, Missoula, Ravalli and Sanders. Individual communities include Darby, Drummond, Philipsburg, Plains and Potomac. Construction to deploy fiber in these areas begins in the Spring of 2023 with a projected completion date in 2026.
The investment from Blackfoot will allow customers access to fast, reliable broadband internet speeds of up to 1 Gbps or more. Since 2017, Blackfoot has invested nearly $50 million in fiber-based broadband infrastructure throughout Montana, including deploying full fiber-to-the-premise networks in Thompson Falls and St. Ignatius, and is currently building an all fiber-network west of Anaconda, including the Georgetown Lake area.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Montana ranks low among states with broadband access, with nearly 1 in 3 Montanans lacking access to high-speed internet. Blackfoot is working hard to reverse this trend and is committed to building out fiber-based broadband to its entire Montana service territory which covers 5,000 square miles.
Blackfoot Communications delivers voice, broadband and fiber-based internet connectivity to homes and businesses in Western Montana and Eastern Idaho.