More and more, reliable fast internet access is an essential service. At Vision Net, we understand this need and work to connect small internet providers in the state to the rest of the world. As a ‘middle mile carrier,’ Vision Net’s role is to route internet traffic securely across our network to where it needs to go.”
Decades ago, “the internet used to be just a fun thing to have at home, and now it’s a critical service,” Gary Evans. Vision Net’s Operations Manager said. “911 is riding over our network for a good portion of the state. We carry the 911 traffic, one of the things we do behind the scenes. So, if our network goes down, a lot of people couldn’t call 911.”
Currently, Montana is one of the worst states for internet connectivity; “there’s a lot of dirt between light bulbs in Montana. We’re just one little town with long streets,” said Geoff Feiss, the General Manager of the Montana Telecommunications Association. The association represents locally owned service providers in the state.
Montana is “a big state, not a lot of consumers. It’s very hard to serve. It’s just an expensive place to serve,” Feiss said. The infrastructure bill being considered by the federal government could help Montana’s rural communities secure high speed internet access. “It would provide $42.5 billion for broadband infrastructure investment,” Feiss said.
A report from 2012 completed by the Federal Communications Commission found that 6% of the population still lacks access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. In rural areas, nearly 25% of the population lacks access to this service. Feiss and Evans hope they can help bring more access and better connection to people who need it, with fiber being the desired option. “Fiber optics is the Cadillac, the gold standard of broadband technology,” Feiss said. “It’s a reliable medium and it happens to be able to deliver as much bandwidth as you can consume.”
Vision Net remains committed to delivering secure high-speed internet to keep our state’s economy growing and providing businesses with the tools they need to flourish. Watch the special report by KRTV to learn more.