Gage County seeks to defuse concern over ARPA broadband project
BEATRICE - Gage County will send a written response to a Diller-based internet service provider, seeking to address concerns of the company following the county’s recent approval of a fiber upgrade agreement with NextLink.
The county is committing up to $4.2 million in ARPA funds for the project with NextLink, aimed at providing improved, faster broadband access in a specific project area for up to 950 locations. Gage County officials say the project area does not cross into Diller Telephone and Diode Communications exchanges or areas that were awarded Nebraska Broadband Bridge Program or Remote Access grants. Diller Telephone and Diode Communications has made considerable upgrades in service in the county.
The agreement does not prohibit any internet service providers from spending or offering service options to residents inside or outside the project area.
Following a more than hour-long closed session Wednesday, Gage County Board Chairman Erich Tiemann said there is a role for both companies in broadband improvement.
"We look forward to seeing investment by both companies. We have a long-standing very successful company that we really appreciate the investment they've made in our county, and continue to make. We have a new provider moving in that we also look forward to their investment and additional services to different portions of Gage County. This is a great opportunity with both companies to provide additional fiber to the home throughout our county. This is a stepping stone....it's not an all-and-done...this is moving us into the future....work from home, precision farming, technology transfers as a whole. These companies, working against each other or together, competing.....everybody wins."
Gage County Attorney Roger Harris says concerns were raised by Diode Communications following the approval of the broadband project by the county. He says the letter encourages both Diode and NextLink to work together to maximize internet services to the county as best as possible, with available funding.