On Wednesday afternoon, Andrew and Katy Melton became the first Idaho Falls residents to join the pilot program for the city’s new fiber network.
Idaho Falls Fiber Network first began allowing residents to connect to the network last week when they launched the program’s website. Andrew Melton said he had been tracking the announcements of the program, looking to improve his internet speed at home, and requested a hook-up soon after the website launched. Fiber workers visited his home last Wednesday to survey for the line and returned this week to finish connecting the Meltons to the internet.
Andrew Melton says he and his wife have already noticed improvements to their internet speed since being connected. The download time for large files he needs for college classes has improved and so has their ability to stream TV shows.
“We don’t have to wait for it to buffer. It’s just seamless and much faster,” Melton said.
The couple pays a total of $78 per month to have a gigabyte per second of uncapped internet service. The city collects $30 of that to pay for the infrastructure of the network and the remainder goes to Sumo, one of the four internet providers that are available through the network.
The Meltons were the first home attached to the network but they were not the only residents using it for very long. Fiber workers had connected 20 homes to the network by the end of Friday and operations manager Jace Yancey expected that another 20 homes would be connected next week.
“We didn’t know how fast people were going to sign up, but we feel that was a good number for the first week,” Yancey said.
Further south in town, the Trudells were one of the first families on Barossa Drive to be connected to the network on Wednesday night. Audie Trudell said the family of four has already noticed much faster internet speeds in the home.
“At any given moment we could have four people online. And when everyone has a device and is streaming, we haven’t noticed any issues yet,” Trudell said.
More than 50 residents have requested to be connected to the Idaho Falls fiber line since the registration period began last week. There are around 680 total homes in the three sections of the city covered by the pilot program and Yancey said the network plans to begin building the next section of the cable in the next few weeks.
Residents who want to see if their home is eligible for the pilot program or request to join the network can call Idaho Falls Fiber at 208-612-8725 or visit its website.