Idaho Falls, ID –The City of Idaho Falls City Council passed a resolution Thursday night authorizing Idaho Falls Power to begin a pilot program to examine the costs associated with providing high-speed fiber optic access to Idaho Falls residents.

“Essentially, Idaho Falls Power already manages a large infrastructure that provides fiber to numerous local businesses, government and schools,” said Bear Prairie, General Manager of Idaho Falls Power and Idaho Falls Fiber. “What this resolution does tonight is formally direct us to prove the feasibility of expanding our network throughout the city.”

Prairie said that the pilot will allow Idaho Falls Power critical connectivity with residential electric customers to provide better power monitoring and customer service. It will also deliver previously unavailable fiber access for internet connectivity if customers want to use the additional bandwidth.

“With this project, I wish to make clear that we are not interested in becoming an internet service provider.  We anticipate local companies will want to provide this service. What we can do is get the fiber physically to the homes and maintain the infrastructure. That is something Idaho Falls Power is really good at.”

Idaho Falls Power already maintains hundreds of miles of power and fiber lines that are run above ground on poles or buried underground throughout neighborhoods. With the passage of tonight’s resolution, work now begins within the study area to design a network that will provide connections from those lines to homes.

“Designing a system like this is a detailed, complicated engineering function,” said Prairie. “This is why the Council also approved an agreement for us to work with Utopia, a company specializing in network design and management. It important to note that Utopia won’t be a service provider, they’ll simply help design and manage an open access system. The system will still rely on local companies to partner with to provide internet service.”