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County Commission votes to fix internet fibers

The Franklin County Commission met Monday for a special-called meeting concerning contracts and the repair of fiber optic internet.

The fibers owned by the Franklin County Commission were damaged Nov. 21 on U.S. Highway 243 and Walnut Gate Road.

“These lines have been up since 2005,” said Franklin County Probate Judge Barry Moore. “We’ve never had a problem with them, and we never thought we would have a problem with them.”

The damage caused a stress fracture in the fibers, so the fibers had to be tested on both sides of the line for a certain distance to ensure proper functioning.

Moore said during the time the fibers were down, several businesses in that area had their internet go down. Since the approval to repair the fibers, internet has been restored for all six businesses in the area, with the total cost of repair being around $28,000.

There was also discussion among the commissioners about the contract with ProVision to provide internet along those fiber lines.

The contract, which was set to expire Jan. 15, was extended to June 15, 2021. The contract includes a 60-day grace period, which stipulates the commission must notify ProVision 60 days in advance if it decides to change providers.

This will ensure the six businesses continue to receive internet during this time.

“We are trying to do what we can to ensure these businesses are able to receive internet,” Moore said.

Commissioners discussed looking to four different companies – ProVision, AT&T, Spectrum and Danmark – to provide internet to the area in the future.

Moore said if these internet companies agree to service the area, it will give local businesses several different options for internet providers.

Franklin County Development Authority Director Sherye Price said she has discussed pricing with Spectrum to see if they can reach an agreement, but there is still further conversation to be had before anything is determined.