A soon-to-be subdivision in Rathdrum will enter the 21st century before it’s even built.
Internet service provider Intermax said this week it has partnered with Bluegrass Development to connect every home in Brookshire, a 461-lot project under construction at Lancaster and Meyer, with fiber-optic internet service.
“We’ve been talking with [Bluegrass co-owner] Tom Anderl for about six weeks now,” Intermax President Mike Kennedy said. “We’ve always wanted to talk with him and work with his folks. We saw this opportunity for this fully-platted land, and now each home in Brookshire will have the fastest available speed, up to one gigabit.”
Fiber-optic lines carry substantially more information than traditional internet service that uses telephone lines or TV cable. That’s because light can move through glass fibers at much faster rates than wires can carry electrical pulses.
“One strand of fiber is as thin as a human hair,” Kennedy said. “It provides a very low latency because of the way it sends data, so the time it takes to go travel through the fiber lines is almost no time at all.”
Anderl said Brookshire’s partnership with Intermax gives homebuyers far more options than they had before he and Kennedy struck a deal.
“With each new project, we try to make a product and service that homebuyers want and need,” Anderl said. “I am excited to be working with Intermax, as well as home builders Daum Construction and Hayden Homes to make it happen.”
Kennedy said that as more and more products come equipped with capabilities that allows them to plug into the internet of things — the term for the interaction between the internet and products like home appliances — households will need faster data capabilities.
“Fiber is far better than Wi-Fi,” Kennedy said. “Fiber is the cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology to get into people’s homes. It allows for growth. It allows for expansion. It’s not for everyone; some people don’t use the kind of data speeds fiber allows. The best [application], aside from gaming and streaming, used to be primarily for businesses or apartment complexes. Now, you see people moving here, and they’re either telecommuting from home, or they’re entrepreneurs working from home. Architects, for example, work with large files. This will shrink the latency down for them considerably.”
A fiber network connects homes to hubs, which then run through the network grid through the fiber lines, which are either elevated (like overhead power lines) or buried underground.
While Kennedy anticipated his customers will spend the $50 to $75 per month for his service, the cost of building a network presents a more challenging question.
“It’s almost impossible to answer,” he said. “We’ve been at this since 2001. We bought this company in 2007. You don’t build a network once. You build it, and then you rebuild it five years later because the technology has evolved. We’re constantly building our network, which runs from the Canadian border down to Lake Coeur d’Alene, and a little to Spokane. When we started, we had 300 people on our network. Now it’s 3,000, with more on the way.”
Another gigabit-speed provider, TDS Communications, wheeled its pre-fabricated network facility into Coeur d’Alene Thursday as it prepares to open its doors to North Idaho customers.
Kennedy said he isn’t afraid of healthy competition. “Competition is great,” he said. “I think people will still come to us because we’re locally owned. We offer more than just internet: voice-over-internet-phone service and IT management. And having a 200-building headstart makes me comfortable with competition.”