BEK offers progress update on high-speed fiber-optic services
By Annette Tait
Reliable Internet, TV, and broadband services are not among the many benefits of rural living in southeastern Oliver County. Residents hopes were raised last year when BEK Communications announced it had been awarded a USDA Community Connect Grant to provide broadband fiberoptic services to unserved and/or underserved areas of southeast Oliver and northeast Morton counties. The area covered by the grant is from I-94 approximately 20 miles north into southeast Oliver County and from the Missouri River west to the West River Telephone service area.
BEK CEO Tom Steinolfson appeared before the Oliver County Commission last week to provide an update on the company’s progress.
“We want to make [the commissioners] aware as BEK is starting to engineer the layout of the awarded territory, with that being in both southern Oliver and northern Morton counties,” Steinolfson said, noting that the grant was applied for in 2014 and awarded in 2015.
Once installed, service will be provided through a land-based fiber-optic system, with fiber being installed to each servable location in the area covered by the grant. The fiber-based service will provide high-speed broadband capability that supports a variety of services, including security, home automation, and farm automation products.
“Once those farmsteads and servable locations have the ability to get good Internet -- good broadband -- the options are unlimited to the services and products they can purchase,” Steinolfson said.
BEK is currently in the planning and engineering process, and anticipates approaching potential customers in the second half of 2016. Construction is projected for 2017, with customer hook-ups to begin once infrastructure construction has been completed.