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Green Hills Telephone Considers Fiber Optics Buildout in Chillicothe
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
April 29, 2016

Green Hills Telephone Companies is looking to expand its services to provide not only telephone and internet service in Chillicothe, but video as well. The company made a formal request for a franchise agreement to expand its services in the city during the council's regular meeting Monday evening. City officials gave a general consensus favoring the proposal and an ordinance will be drafted for consideration at the next meeting. The company was represented at the meeting by General Manager David Adams and Chuck Erke. Adams stated that the company is in the process of engineering a fiber optic buildout in Chillicothe to bring the latest technology and services to the city. "We have fiber optic cable on the southern portion of town and our intention is, if we are granted the ability to do so, is to build northward," Adams said. " First, serving business and then edging out into the residential community." The company's existing fiber optics infrastructure in south Chillicothe is used to deliver services to other communities. Adams explained that the company has a franchise agreement to provide telephone service in Chillicothe but does not have a franchise agreement to provide video service as of this date. The franchise fee is still to be negotiated, but it was mentioned that it could be 3 percent of gross subscriber revenue that would be collected from subscribers of video services each month and remitted to the city. The services intended to be provided, Adams said, would be similar to what one might see from Google Fiber in Kansas City, and other technology along with broadband access, telephone and TV services, and other services for businesses, such as cloud computing capabilities and business phone services. "We are in the process of engineering that today," he said. "There are a lot of new things coming down the pike that businesses and residents, alike, will be interested in." The company's intent is to begin in the south portion of Chillicothe, just north of Highway 36, and building the first phase up Highway 65 to around the viaduct, and serving businesses on both sides of Washington Street. Then, plans would include building on north and outward. He stated that fiber in the residential areas could be a combination of underground installation and the use of utility poles. The fiber connection would allow for any and all services, he said. Engineering is hoped to be completed by mid-May and then the company would work with its contractors for establishing a timeline. Adams said that the Green Hills Companies, whose headquarters are in Breckenridge, may establish a store-front in Chillicothe. "The more customers we have here, the more presence we want to establish here," he said. Erke said that the company also conducts computer repair. "We have always felt that if we come into Chillicothe with fiber, we do it right... do phone, do TV service, do high speed internet... and, we ought to provide full service which would mean computer repair." Erke stated that the company has talked with Grand River Technical School officials about the possibility of offering internships for students. He said such an opportunity could provide a good training ground for students.

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