The blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town of Scobey—situated in the far northeast corner of Montana—is home to barely more than 1,000 people. But even though its population is small, Scobey is getting noticed in a big way: Last month, Nemont Telephone Cooperative, Inc., announced that its home base of Scobey has become one of Montana’s first—and certainly smallest—Gigabit communities. That means Nemont’s fiber network can now deliver broadband speeds of up to one Gigabit per second (Gbps) to the Northeast Montana homes and businesses located within the co-op’s 14,000-square-mile service area.
“On January 18, 2013, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski issued the Gigabit City Challenge to bring at least one ultra-fast Gigabit Internet community to every state in the U.S. by 2015,” Nemont CEO Mike Kilgore said in this press release. “Thanks to the tireless efforts of our talented employees, Nemont is proud to report that Montana now has a Gigabit community.”
Kilgore credited Calix Unified Access, a fiber network solutions provider, with helping Nemont replace all of its outdated copper infrastructure with fiber. “Through our network transformation from copper to fiber, we have utilized the Calix family of products to meet our high capacity backbone, wireless backhaul, broadband access, and now, our ultra-fast Gigabit needs,” Kilgore continued. “Calix has been with us since the day we developed our Broadband Strategy years ago and will continue to be a strategic partner for Nemont as we embark on delivering the next generation of advanced broadband services.”
In fact, Calix’s alignment with Nemont’s mission to grow the region’s economic potential by leaps and bounds is part of the reason Kilgore partnered with the vendor in the first place. “At Calix, we have seen that Gigabit services are transformative to a community, bringing opportunities for economic development and improving the quality of life for device-enabled subscribers,” said John Colvin, senior vice president of North American sales at Calix. “By taking the next step to turn up the first Gigabit community in the state of Montana, Nemont is bringing the opportunity for such a transformation to its customers and the community of Scobey. We are excited to see what is next for Scobey as Nemont’s Gigabit services capture the imagination of not only the town of Scobey, but the entire state.”
In addition to making a positive impact through its service offerings, Nemont dedicates substantial time and resources to community service efforts. According to the cooperative’s website, Nemont offers free educational courses, telephone etiquette sessions, and job shadowing opportunities. It also provides discounted services to those in need through its e-rate program and supports area clubs, events, and civic organizations. Finally, it awards a series of postsecondary education scholarships to deserving local students each spring.
So, even though Scobey’s county courthouse looks like something out of an old western movie, the community’s access to cutting-edge fiber technology puts it on par with some of America’s most modern urban cities.