Baldwin LightStream announced October 15 the company will begin upgrading the copper and coax plant facilities in the villages of Baldwin and Woodville in 2020. The project will upgrade all residential locations to fiber optics.

The cost for the project is $8 million and it is a loan from the United States Rural Utilities Service (RUS). RUS administers programs that provide infrastructure or infrastructure improvements to rural communities. RUS programs expand economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Baldwin LightStream has a long relationship with RUS dating back to the 1950’s.

Finley Engineering has been hired to design and oversee the installation of the fiber optics. Later this year, construction companies will have the opportunity to submit a bid for installing the fiber.

Residents of the villages are encouraged to attend an informational meeting to learn more about the fiber project. These meetings will be held in January. Meeting dates and times will be posted on billing statements and the local cable channel.

Fiber optics will provide the bandwidth that Baldwin LightStream customers need for online gaming, streaming content, using smart devices, monitoring medical conditions and more. Another benefit of being on a fiber network is the increased home value. Researchers at the University of Colorado and Carnegie Mellon University studied approximately half a million home sales from 2011 and 2013 and found that having access to fiber internet added 3.1% to the value of a home. Although a fiber to the home network is very expensive to install, it will ensure that Baldwin LightStream can meet the data needs of the future. Rural Baldwin and Woodville customers were upgraded to fiber facilities between 2008 and 2017.

Baldwin LightStream provides service in the villages of Knapp, Hammond and Roberts and the Towns of Hudson and Troy also.

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