Connecting…

Rampant growth biggest impediment to better connectivity

Many Americans have been highly adaptable to Covid times in regard to shifting to online work, especially since they got to have more creative wardrobe choices. Still the heavily pixelated video of coworkers during Zoom meetings, the awkward mid-sentence freezes; the “Reconnecting…” “Trying to connect…” messages on Google Docs – none of those are going away anytime soon for Big Sky residents.

The importance of online access and connectivity became more noticeable during COVID-19 Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and Visit Big Sky CEO Candace Carr Strauss said. This cast a light on rural America and has brought the issue into focus for a host of state and federal organizations. Funding is filtering in, something that has been a priority for U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

3 Rivers Communications is working “as hard and as fast” as they can in the Big Sky area, according to the company’s General Manager/CEO David Gibson. The funding is there and “interest rates are low.....” Money is not the issue. Money has not been the issue for this area.

“We have plenty of money, the constraints… summer comes in a weekend. It’s really hard to get contractors to work there, and you’re growing like hell so it’s two steps forward and one step back. Every time we complete a program, there’s another subdivision or a giant hotel going up,” he said. “It’s not money, it’s all the other constraints.”

He estimates that it will be about three to four years before the company can finish efforts in Big Sky, meaning fiber to homes and businesses and to “get all the copper out.”

He explained that eventually the growth has to slow and the company will have a chance to catch up.

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