Cox Communications will begin providing internet, voice and cloud-based services to Blair businesses in May following the Blair City Council approving a right-of-way agreement with the company in October.
Cox Business Vice President Ashley Perkins said several Cox business customers in Omaha who also operate in Washington County requested the company to install a line in Blair several years ago.
“We had several large (business) customers in Omaha repeatedly ask us if we could be in Blair and Fremont, but specifically it was Blair,” she said. “Several years ago, we weren’t ready to do that, but as we kept working on the financial part … we felt like finally we could make that work.”
Perkins said Cox’s entrance into Blair is an economic development opportunity for the city. She said Cox will provide to existing businesses, and the company’s service could be a draw for new businesses.
“When companies are looking to do business in Blair we try to be as accommodating as possible,” City Administrator Rod Storm said. “We want the citizens to have the best possible internet service available. Competition drives quality and pricing.”
Cox began installing a fiber-optic cable line from Omaha into Blair along state Highway 133 in November. Construction has reached Woodhouse Ford.
The line will loop west and exit the city on state Highway 91 toward Fremont. The line will also be installed toward the northeast side of town, exiting north along U.S. Highway 75, but a specific end point in that area hasn’t yet been identified by Cox.
The fiber-optic cable line will connect with the line Cox has installed in Fremont to create a fiber ring.
“It goes all the way around so at no point either city would be isolated should a back hoe induced fiber failure happen, which on occasion it does happen,” Perkins said.
As part of the fiber installation, Perkins said Cox is also seeking land along the fiber route that a landowner would allow the business to place equipment on.
Residential internet services will not be provided in May but could be in the future after Cox completes its obligation to current residential customers in the Omaha-metro area. Private residents can still receive services from Cox, however, if they live on the fiber route and pay for business service.
Senior Manager of Public Affairs Calli Hite, a Blair native, said she can be contacted with questions about Cox, its fiber installation and services.
“I love Blair and want to make sure we’re doing everything we can for the community,” she said.