Fiber Optic Coming to Uniontown, Continuing In Fort Scott

Conduit for the Craw-Kan Fiber Optic project sits on Uniontown City property on March 7.

Hi-speed internet is coming to Uniontown.

Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative, Girard, received a broadband internet loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has been stockpiling conduit and cable in Uniontown since late February 2020.

 

The new high-speed internet service will be provided to the 350 customers in Uniontown, Craig Wilbert, general manager of Craw-Kan said.

Craig Wilbert, general manager of Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative.

“There will be no rate change,” Wilbert said.

 

Craw-Kan crews will be replacing copper lines, then connect to computers, phone, and cable TV, giving access to up to  1,000 gigabits per second.

 

A landline may be required as a prerequisite for internet service based on geographic location, call the cooperative at  620-724-8235 to check.

 

The benefits of the new project: getting the fastest available internet in the county, at an affordable rate, Wilbert said.

 

” Great for students and also makes working from home a reality,” Wilbert said.

 

The internet service will only be for Craw-Kan Cooperative members.

 

The Uniontown project will start late spring 2020. “when the weather dries out a bit” and won’t be complete until mid to late 2021, Wilbert said.

 

 

The cooperative received a Rural Utilities Services loan which requires contractors to be certified by an engineering company that has demonstrated the ability to complete a project this large.  Any contractor meeting this condition can bid on the job, Wilbert said.

To learn about Craw-Kan prices:

https://ckt.net/service/internet/

 

Materials are ready for the Uniontown Fiber Optic project.

 

Fort Scott Fiber Optic Project

Craw-Kan has also been replacing internet copper lines in Fort Scott, in preparation for service there.

Uniontown will all be done at the same time as the Fort Scott project and will be cut over to be in service at the same time, Wilbert said.

 

 

“The Fort Scott project is about one-half done,” Wilbert said. “There is a central office on National Avenue where our equipment is.

 

“The west side of Ft. Scott is nearly complete,” he said.” I anticipate about 12 more months for the rest of the city to be completed.  We do it in sections so services will be available in chunks of territories as they are completed.”

 

Why does a project like this take so long?

 

” Mainly it is a matter of cost,” Wilbert said.  “Ft. Scott will end up being a several million dollar project and the Cooperative simply does not have the financial means to complete a city the size of Ft. Scott in one year.  The second reason is the scope of the project.  It is similar to replacing every water or electric line in town.  We are passing every home and business within the city limits.  That’s a lot of fiber to bury!  Definitely worth the wait.”

 

The life expectancy of fiber optic lines is 40 years, Wilbert said.

 

Spools of optical cable.

 

Craw-Kan Expanding Business Customers

The projects are the result of declining populations in rural areas nationwide, he said. This was affecting the Craw-Kan business negatively.

 

“We needed to find new business,” Wilbert said. “We decided to find non-members of the coop, they are strictly customers.”

 

They received requests from Mound City, St.Paul, Pittsburg and Fort Scott and those projects are completed, he said.

 

 

Workers from Bob Hull, Inc., Frankfurt, KS unload fiber optic cable in Uniontown on Feb. 29.

 

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