Internet Connections Affect Home Sales

Portola, CA (October 12, 2017) – The economy is finally on the rebound, and home sales in some rural areas are up. One key reason is the expansion of broadband in rural communities.

Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications, a small telecommunications utility located in Portola, California, is addressing the issue of poor Internet connectivity in its region.

“Part of electric and telecommunications cooperatives’ mission is to bring key services to Rural America. Access to affordable broadband is a crucial component to arresting the loss of jobs and population in our region,” says Bob Marshall, chief executive officer.

PST began building a fiber-optic network backbone from Reno, Nevada, north to Susanville and west to Quincy, California in 2012, with the help of a $13.7 million grant through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and a commitment from several local anchor institutions. To date, the company has constructed 190-plus miles of fiber optic network, purchased abandoned TV coax cable systems and added wireless technologies to help address costs and a variety of challenges created by different topographical elements in the region.

Marshall points out that a major goal of the project was to create jobs and boost the economy by allowing existing businesses to expand, while attracting new businesses to the region.

“Completion of the project now allows businesses, households and key community institutions to have access to higher data usage at a lower cost,” says Marshall.

Marshall goes on to say that fiber construction to rural homes in the region is generally not economically feasible, because of lack of home density and other challenges.

“It is a great option where it is physically possible and where neighbors can band together to help bring costs down—but it isn’t the only option,” says Marshall.

PST employs other solutions where direct connection to PST’s fiber network is prohibitive, like making use of a fiber-to-coax hybrid or a wireless-to-fiber hybrid.