Fiber-Optic Cable Proposed Along 183 Miles of Yellowstone's Roads | Big Horn Basin Media

Fiber-Optic Cable Proposed Along 183 Miles of Yellowstone’s Roads

Written by on October 7, 2020

Yellowstone National Park officials are seeking public comment on a proposition to install nearly 200 miles of fiber-optic cable through the park for faster internet connections.

The park already has a microwave transport system and underground copper cable designed for landline phones. All of Yellowstone’s phones and computers utilize the microwave system.

The 40-year old equipment does not mesh well with modern technology, so park managers are proposing upgrades to the system.

The proposal submitted by Diamond Communications LLC would see fiber-optic lines installed along 183 miles of road in Yellowstone. That would ever the entire Grand Loop Road and all the park’s developed and administrative areas.

Diamond Communications list the multiple benefits of the installation:

  • Faster internet speeds for visitors and staff
  • Cell phone calls would be less likely to be dropped or fail to connect
  • Increased speed for credit card transactions
  • Seasonal staff would be more likely to return with the improve connectivity and broadband access

Rubber-tracked vehicles would install the lines along the roads while permanently removing the large microwave radio reflectors that make the existing microwave transport system function. Each reflector is 28 feet high and 24 feet long.

A similar installation already occurred along the roads of Grand Teton National Park.

While the fiber-optic cable would dramatically improve connectivity, it will not infringe on the rustic nature of Yellowstone. There will be no cell towers constructed and no expansion to the authorized cell service in the park.

More practically, the fiber-optic cable would improve the networks and internet services the park uses for critical operations, safety and emergency services, and relaying important information to visitors.

The park is accepting public comments on the proposal until Oct. 21.


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