This map provided by Golden West shows their estimated project area for “Fiber to the Home” in Hot Springs for 2020.
HOT SPRINGS -- Golden West Telecommunications employees shared details about the continued Fiber to the Home (FTTH) project that will be completed in the town of the Hot Springs at an open house at the Mueller Center on February 4.
“We look forward to finishing the installation in Hot Springs,” said Greg Oleson, Golden West’s Director of Member Services, Communications and Government Affairs. “Fiber gives our members access to new technologies and advancements in education, business, health, agriculture and so much more.”
About half of the town of Hot Springs was upgraded to the FTTH platform in 2019, and the remainder will be done this year. FTTH allows Golden West to deliver services over thin strands of glass called fiber optics, which carry data as pulses of light.
Oleson spoke about the differences customers will see after the fiber upgrade, including stronger, even more reliable connections and the availability of Golden West’s fastest internet speeds.
Thanks in part to a new fiber connection, for example, Oleson told about second and third-grade students learning to code at the newly opened Central Meade County School in Union Center. In Dell Rapids, the Mason Jar Boutique uses its fiber connection to sell the latest fashions to 350,000-plus social media followers across the United States.
Oleson also told how Brian Hostutler practices precision agriculture to save time and resources and maximize yields on his Midland farm. Broadband allows his wife, Misti, to telecommute to her information technology job, as well.
“Broadband internet, delivered by fiber optics, will help Hot Springs in the years to come,” Oleson said.
Golden West’s Plant Engineering Manager Marty Huether explained what areas the 2020 portion of the project will cover, and he told customers what to expect during the construction process. This includes plowing the main lines of fiber, installing underground vaults, hanging clamshells and using vibrating lawn plows to bury fiber optic cable to individual homes and businesses.
Huether noted that while the contractors will identify major buried utilities, customers should work with Golden West to locate any sprinkler and septic systems, alarm or invisible fence systems, or similarly buried services that are not covered by South Dakota One Call to ensure they are not damaged during plowing.
Golden West has contracted with North Central Services to complete the main construction portion of the project for Hot Springs. Contractor Swiftec Electric will contact customers to schedule the clamshell installation, which involves hanging a box that holds fiber components on the outside of the home or business, as well as any needed and inside wiring. Contractor Heberly Engineering will handle all issues related to easements, permits and inspection.
“We’re getting started now with the inside wiring because it’s cold out,” explains Huether. “Around May 1, or sooner if the weather permits, we’ll start the construction portion that should wrap up by fall. Then comes the cutover process. Our contractor will reach out and make appointments later this year or early next year to ‘cutover’ customers to their new fiber network.”
Anyone with questions about the Fiber to the Home project can visit GoldenWest.com/FTTH or call 1-855-888-7777 and ask for the Engineering Department.