Local News

Optimism on Fiber Optics

December 8, 2017

The issue of bringing fiber optics to Tusayan is top of mind for Tusayan Town Manager Eric Duthie.  He says the lack of reliable internet service in Tusayan and surrounding areas has a profound impact. Duthie says it is one of the biggest challenges facing the community. He says it impacts residents, businesses, and visitors. “And if you are at a world heritage site such as the Canyon and you don’t have what people come to expect as normal life, you’re not meeting the needs of the people who are visiting as well as the needs of the people that are here.”

All options are still on the table including conduits along railroad right of way, and along the ADOT right of way. Duthie is also exploring running fiber optic cables atop old telegraph poles or on APS power poles.

Currently, Duthie is working with the Grand Canyon School District to seek funds from the state and federal governments to fund bringing fiber optics from Williams, through Tusayan and into the schools.

The federal funds would come through a program called ERate and could fund between 80% and 90% of the costs depending on matching funds. And Duthie says the Arizona Corporation Commission could help provide those matching funds. The cost for the project would exceed $5 million.

Duthie said the school district has prepared a new application for ERate funds and plans to submit that application on January.  He hopes to have a response this spring.