After beating back a legislative effort to stop them, city leaders in Chanute now face another state government hurdle in their effort to extend ultra-high-speed fiber broadband to residents’ homes and businesses.
Because of a 1947 state law on utilities, the city has to get permission from the Kansas Corporation Commission to sell bonds to fund its fiber-to-home project, which would extend some of the fastest Internet service in the nation to the rural community of about 9,200 people in southeast Kansas.
Larry Gates, Chanute’s utilities director, said the city is ready to issue the bonds and start hooking up customers as soon it gets the commission’s OK. “This is our last hurdle,” he said. “I imagine we’ll do it right away.”
AT&T, one of two lower-speed broadband providers serving Chanute, filed to officially intervene in the case and was granted that permission on Tuesday morning.
“Any decision made by the KCC could impact AT&T’s business operations in the area, which is why we asked to intervene in the proceeding,” the company said in a written response to questions from The Eagle. “AT&T remains interested in both broadband issues and the work of the KCC.”
The company has not yet filed any testimony in the case.