Emery Telcom recently completed a six-year plan to bring fiber-to-the-home to all of the residents in Carbon and Emery counties. Emery Telcom has been looking for funding mechanisms to do a similar project in Grand and San Juan counties.
Emery Telcom has partnered with the USDA through the Community Connect and Reconnect programs to bring fiber to Castle Valley, La Sal, Eastland and Mexican Hat. The Castle Valley and first phase of the La Sal project are nearing completion. The Mexican Hat project is currently under construction and the other projects are in permitting. Emery Telcom also participated in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will provide funding over the next six years to bring fiber to many residents in Grand and San Juan counties.
In April 2020, Emery Telcom, through two newly formed subsidiaries, E Fiber Moab, LLC and E Fiber San Juan, LLC, filed an application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to allow them to be a rate-of-return regulated telephone company in the counties of Grand and San Juan. This application was granted in 2021. This will allow the new entities to be a regulated telephone companies in the counties and allow access to the Utah Universal Service Fund to help complete the fiber-to-the home project in Grand and San Juan counties.
With access to these various funding mechanisms, the Emery Telcom companies are planning to do a five-year fiber-to-the-home build out project for almost all of Grand and San Juan counties.
“We are excited to partner with the state of Utah, USDA and FCC to engage in this awesome infrastructure project,” stated Brock Johansen, CEO of Emery Telcom. “Fiber-to-the-home will be an amazing benefit to Grand and San Juan counties. Emery Telcom has a proven track record and has completed a similar project in Carbon and Emery counties. These fiber networks help to increase economic development, public safety and education in the area, and increase the overall standard of living in the communities.”
As rate of return regulated entities, the new companies had to agree to charge reasonable rates and maintain a high level of reliability. This will result in a few changes to the pricing structure, but also guarantee that rates remain reasonable.
The projects do not extend to the White Mesa Ute Reservation and Navajo Nation. While E Fiber San Juan did get funding to bring fiber to the residents on the White Mesa Ute Reservation, the tribal management has filed legal proceedings to prevent such build out. Emery Telcom is working with the Utah Education and Telehealth Network to bring fiber to the Utah schools on both the White Mesa Ute Reservation and the Navajo Nation.