South Rural Belfield FTTH On Track for 2023

South Belfield:

FTTH construction in the south area is underway.  Plow crews will run until freeze up.   

North Belfield:

We continue to work on easements for the north build and are making good progress.  We need to have the majority of these in hand no later than January 1, 2024.  The chart shows our progress. 

We have gotten numerous landowner “no’s” to the easement requests.  Some of these are demanding payment for the easement or they will not sign.  As in the south build area, no compensation will be paid for easements.  For those taking this position we would ask you to consider a couple of things.  First, there is no money in the grant funding for easement payments and no one in the south got paid.  Consolidated is already investing $4.6M of its own funds in this project and will not be paying for easements.  Second, the only one that loses when you take this position is your neighbor, friend or family member down the road that we won’t be able to reach.   No one should be left behind in this project.

If you are concerned about the scar the plow leaves we would encourage you to drive down south and see firsthand that there is minimal impact on the land when fiber is placed. 

Bill Palanuk interviews Scott Bachmeier about the Rural Belfield Fiber Construction Project and the importance of this project to the future generations in North Dakota.

Consolidated CEO/General Manager, Bryan Personne, and Bill Palanuk talk about the Belfield Fiber Optic Project and what needs to happen to keep this time sensitive project on track.

Consolidated Belfield Rural Fiber Project town meeting with CEO/GM Bryan Personne March 27, 2023.

Consolidated Belfield Rural Fiber Project town meeting with CEO/GM Bryan Personne March 23, 2023.

Construction is planned to start this Spring and that is just a few months away. Without the cooperation of landowners giving easements the project will not happen. When you receive your easement packet, it is imperative to contact Contex Energy or Consolidated immediately if you have questions otherwise execute and return ASAP to keep this time sensitive project on track. Construction season in North Dakota is limited and we can’t start until we have easements.

95% of all fiber placed will be done by vibratory plow train, not open trench.  This means less impact to the land crossed. 

Consolidated is a company of family, friends and neighbors serving family, friends and neighbors. That comes from our cooperative roots. Help us bring fiber and the benefits of high speed Internet to your area.

FAQ’s on Belfield ReConnect project:

What will it cost me to bring the fiber line up to my house?

When we bring fiber to the home, we run the drop from the road to the side of your house and install the equipment to provide your service. There is no cost to you in this project.  Once the fiber is installed if you choose to take service you will pay for whatever services you take.  There is no obligation to take service by signing an easement or allowing us to place a fiber line to your home or business.

Why aren’t you using county right-of-way?

When the county right-of-way is used, we are still required to get easement from the land owner and a permit from the county to be in their right of way.  We will use some county right-of-way, but we want to be as far away from the road as possible so we are not in the way if roadwork needs to be done.  The grant requires that all main line fiber has to be placed in previously disturbed ground.

Are there other benefits to having this fiber network?

Yes, utility companies can use the fiber network to have remote access to reset, turn off, and monitor power to specific locations to provide faster response to outages, fire, etc. in your area.

How soon will work start?

Engineering and Easement/Permit acquisitions  began Fall 2022.

Construction will begin in Spring of 2023.  Initial construction will start South of I94 and after completed will proceed North of I94.

How long will the work take to be completed?

There are multiple phases of construction:  Mainline routes, individual drops to locations, splicing and testing, and then installation and turn up of services.

This is a 2 year project to complete the entire serving area covered by the award.

When can I get service connected?

Installation of services in the South areas will begin in the Fall of 2023.

What will this project cost me?

This project is being 100% funded by a $13.8M grant from USDA and a $4.6M match from Consolidated.  Once complete, services will be offered to residences and businesses at the same rates we charge in our other service areas.  Programs like Lifeline and ACP will also be available to qualifying customers.

How do Consolidated’s services compare with Century Link or Hughes Net?

Once the fiber-to-the-home project is complete,   we will offer up to 1G symmetrical broadband service, voice service, and video service.  We are a local company with local technicians and staff available for you.

Why are we going south first?

We are starting South of 94 because there are fewer pipeline crossings.  Pipeline crossings take more lead time.  The bulk of these are in the North half and this will give us the needed time to get those crossings planned and not slow construction down.

What will happen to my service if I lose power at my home?

The fiber optic facilities require backup battery power to allow your telephone service to continue functioning in a power outage.  To avoid a disruption in home voice service during a power outage, and to maintain the ability to connect to 911 emergency services, Consolidated provides you with a battery for the backup power for you residential voice telephone service at the time of the installation at no additional cost.  The only service that the backup battery will support is voice.  Home security systems, medical monitoring devices, and other equipment will not run on residential voice telephone backup battery.  The backup batteries are expected to last up to 8 hours, depending on usage.

Do I need to rewire my house in order to connect fiber optic for my services?

No, the existing wire will work in most cases.  

To learn more, read the full news release