New fiber internet service provider launches in Idaho Falls

IDAHO FALLS — Idaho Falls Fiber customers can now choose from five service providers as ConnectFast announced Friday it was joining the network.

The city-owned infrastructure project announced the new addition Friday during a news conference at their offices. Since the fiber project officially began providing service in 2019, around 2,500 homes have been connected to the network and an additional 7,500 can tap into the network now.

Idaho Falls Fiber General Manager Bear Prairie says the timing was just right as COVID-19 led to more people working at home.

“All of a sudden everybody realizes working from home their (traditional) bandwidth isn’t able to do the things they need to do,” Prairie said. “It essentially put the exclamation point on what we were doing and all of a sudden everyone realized … we need this.”

When the project originally launched, customers could pick between four providers – Direct Communications, QWK.net, SilverStar and SUMO. When connected to the network, customers pay a $25 infrastructure fee as part of their city utility bill, then pay the provider based on the internet plan chosen.

The new service with ConnectFast will be among the cheapest plans at $39.95 for a 1-gigabit internet service. Most providers charge anywhere from $47 to $70 for the same speeds.

“One of the things that we try to do is be a little disruptive in our price points,” ConnectFast General Manager Gabe Gomez said. “We realize that there are other choices and bandwidth levels … we found as a national provider a gigabit is really what the market wants at an affordable price.”

ConnectFast provides multiple fiber routes that leave the Idaho Falls area and Gomez said that provides more redundancy in the system. Gomez also said ConnectFast has servers on the network that house Netflix, Google, Youtube and other content which keeps most web surfing local and not jumping across networks.

“It’s going to transit to a far faster experience,” Gomez said.

Idaho Falls Fiber said the city’s fiber network is also unique in how it does not “daisy chain” homes together. Instead, each house on the network has its own individual fiber connection.

Those interested in connecting to the Idaho Falls Fiber network can visit their website. People already on the network have the ability to switch providers by visiting their office on South Capital Avenue or calling them at (208) 612-8725

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