MRTC’s future is now

Residents of Mountain Telephone’s service area have something many larger cities only dream of — access to fiber optic technology and the most advanced data network available.

Matt Daniel checks fiber optic connections in MRTC’s Central Office.

Matt Daniel checks fiber optic connections in MRTC’s Central Office.

The fiber-to-the-home project is a historic undertaking, and MRTC is now putting the finishing touches on the massive buildout to ensure residents of Eastern Kentucky have access to cutting-edge Internet speeds.

To date, the project involves the installation of more than 1,900 miles of fiber optic cable throughout Bath, Elliott, Menifee, Morgan and Wolfe counties.

“We have never done anything of this magnitude,” says Mountain General Manager Shayne Ison. “The fiber-to-the-home project is historic and will provide benefits to the community for many years to come.”

A fiber cable consists of strands of glass that carry digital information as pulses of light. Unlike traditional copper lines, fiber can transmit data at amazing speeds across great distances with minuscule signal degradation. Access to the network is expected to bring economic and educational opportunities to the region.

Construction crews have completed the main buildout, and many MRTC customers already have access to fiber. Crews continue cutting other members over to the advanced network as part of a plan to upgrade everyone to fiber in the service area.

“Basically, the outside plant construction is complete,” Ison says. “We have a few ‘clean-up’ items remaining, and are working toward finalizing the project.”

Ison says the project initially focused on customers that had dial-up or DSL Internet service, but crews are now cutting others over to fiber, particularly those that add advanced services such as broadband and video.

The possibilities with fiber are endless. Fiber means faster Internet speeds, more video channels, high-definition television, enhanced voice telephone services, increased property values and plentiful opportunities for education and economic growth.

But Mountain’s future doesn’t end with fiber. MRTC has launched local television programming that includes local political forums, community rebuilding efforts, community events and church services. MRTC hopes to include area sporting events once school resumes this fall. Ison says he hopes to continue adding local TV offerings to meet customers’ needs. “Our hope is to continue to see our TV subscriber base grow while evaluating channel packages and plans.”

One of the best things about fiber network, Ison says, is that it not only gives MRTC members incredible access today, but it can also handle whatever technology is coming next.

“Our hope is to continue providing broadband plans to ensure our customers can access the latest apps and gadgets,” he says.