PAYETTE — The city of Payette is getting ready to log on to new bandwidth with the help of a Fruitland neighbor. At their Sept. 9 regular meeting, the Payette City Council gave authorization for Mayor Jeff Williams to sign an agreement with Farmers Mutual Telephone Co., who in turn are preparing to lay fiber optic cables for broadband internet, running from city hall to the Payette Fire Station. The project is to be funded using CARES Act money made available by the Idaho Department of Commerce through its broadband grant program.
During the meeting, Dan Greig, General Manager of Farmers Mutual, said that in addition to access by city offices, businesses along the route may gain new access to broadband, as well.
“I had been on the Idaho broadband task force earlier in the year and they said, ‘Would you be interested in putting fiber cables in city hall in Payette?’ And I said ‘yes,’” said Greig.
Greig initiated the conversation with city officials when the grant was first made available in June.
“I originally approached [City Clerk] Mary Cordova at the city after hearing about the program from the Idaho Commerce Dept.,” wrote Greig in an email on Sept. 8. “The grant for the project is $175,000, but the caveat is that it has to be completed and approved by December 15 of this year or no funds will be disbursed. The City had to be the applicant for the grant, but when completed, [Farmers Mutual] will own the fiber facilities and sell services along the path of the fiber.”
As a result of the project, Greig says there’s a chance this service may directly benefit the community at a later date.
“Public WIFI is a possibility if there was a good place along the route to place a device to broadcast from that would be convenient for people to use, like a park,” wrote Greig. “We can investigate that possibility as the project moves forward.”
Payette is one of 20 government agencies statewide to benefit from the grant program, as announced in late August. No timetable for completion of the project was available as of press time.