Gallatin National Forest Allowing Fiber Optic Line - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Gallatin National Forest Allowing Fiber Optic Line

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BOZEMAN -

The National Forest Service just gave the green light to the installation of a new fiber optic line to be installed in the Gallatin Canyon.

Montana Opticom wants to install fiber optic cable from Big Sky to Four Corners in order to expand their broadband service.

To do that, they needed permission from the Gallatin National Forest because the plans go through 15 miles of forest service land.

Before the Gallatin National Forest would give them the ok, Bozeman District Ranger Lisa Stoeffler said they had to conduct an environmental assessment to see how it would affect the Gallatin River.

"We looked at things like wild and scenic corridors, we looked at wildlife visuals of the construction work, disturbance to the traffic along U.S. 191 and put all that in the assessment," said Stoeffler.

Stoeffler said the public shared their concerns

"I think they were concerned about the same things we were," said Stoeffler. "Making sure we were protecting wild qualities and the long term visuals of the construction."

There will be two foot boxes scattered along U.S. 191 serving as access points to the fiber lines, the lines will be on the opposite side of the road from the Gallatin River.

Stoeffler said other companies will also use the same trench as Montana Opticom.

"We have other fiber optic and phone line providers that go through the river corridor and our intent is to have all those share those facilities so we have the minimum disturbance," said Stoeffler.

Another utility has also been working on forest land in the Gallatin Cannon.

NorthWestern Energy has been installing new power poles along U.S. 191.

Montana Opticom received the American Recovery and Reinvestment grant from the Department of Agriculture to provide service to Four Corners and Belgrade.

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