Gateway Fiber may install fiber optics in Moscow Mills if they get approval from the Board of Aldermen to use the city’s right-of-way. 

Heath Sellenriek, a managing partner in Gateway Fiber, attended the Moscow Mills board meeting on Dec. 9 to discuss a potential contract with the aldermen. The company needs the city’s permission to use the right-of-way along streets to install their fiber underground. 

While city leaders want fiber optics for the community, Mayor Patrick Flannigan expressed wariness as the initial contract presented by Gateway Fibers looked similar to a contract the city fought to turn down before. Two years ago, a larger company brought a contract for installing advanced utilities, like fiber optics and cell towers with 5G access, to the city. However, the company wanted to rely on a federal law that would have forced Moscow Mills to let the company in and not charge much for the company using the right-of-way how they wanted to with no input from city officials.

“[Gateway Fiber] presented a contract which mirrored a lot of the same things from that initial ploy about two years ago now,” Flannigan said, “I told our city attorney if they want to play ball we’re gonna have to get the contract changed to eliminate a lot of those things where we would be opening the door again. Well, he agreed right away that he could eliminate the stuff that we were not liking in the contract and he could still get his fiber optics in the ground and we would be happy, he would be happy. That’s what they’re working on right now is ironing out those issues legally.” If the two parties can reach an agreement on the contract, Gateway Fiber will come back to the January Board of Alderman meeting where Flannigan “speculates” the contract will be voted upon and “gladly accepted” so long as the contract details are worked out.

If they receive permission to access the right-of-way, Gateway Fiber will install fiber optic lines under ground while also advertising their services and letting people pre-register so they know which houses to connect to. Even if a homeowner waits a few years before deciding they want fiber optic services, they will still be able to connect to the initial ground line whenever they want to. 

“High speed broadband is not a luxury anymore. It’s a necessity, quality of life issue and economic development issue,” Sellenriek said at the meeting. 

Gateway Fiber is a small business that started just last year, with connections to Sellenriek Construction. A 100 percent privately owned and funded company, their first customers will be in Winfield once they finish the construction in progress there. 

The company will not rely on contracts but has simple monthly rates that start at $59 a month for 100 megabits per second (Mbps). If someone wants more speed than that, they can also purchase 500 Mbps for $74 or 1 Gbps for $94. Currently, in Moscow Mills, internet speeds with cable companies reach around a 40 Mbps max.

“I have people out here complaining that they cannot work from home because the speed is way to slow. So this would be to me earth shattering for the city to get fiber optics,” Flannigan said.

If the two parties can reach an agreement on the contract, Gateway Fiber will come back to the January city council meeting where Flannigan “speculates” the contract will be voted upon and “gladly accepted” so long as the contract details are worked out.

If they receive permission to access the right-of-way, Gateway Fiber will install fiber optic lines under ground while also advertising their services and letting people pre-register so they know which houses to connect to. Even if a homeowner waits a few years before deciding they want fiber optic services, they will still be able to connect to the initial ground line whenever they want to. 

“High speed broadband is not a luxury anymore. It’s a necessity, quality of life issue and economic development issue,” Sellenriek said at the meeting. 

Gateway Fiber is a small business that started just last year, with connections to Sellenriek Construction. A 100 percent privately owned and funded company, their first customers will be in Winfield once they finish the construction in progress there. 

The company will not rely on contracts but has simple monthly rates that start at $59 a month for 100 megabits per second (Mbps). If someone wants more speed than that, they can also purchase 500 Mbps for $74 or 1 Gbps for $94. Currently in Moscow Mills, internet speeds with cable companies reaching around a 40 Mbps max.

“I have people out here complaining that they cannot work from home because the speed is way to slow. So this would be to me earth shattering for the city to get fiber optics,” Flannigan said.