By Martin Kidston
When residents of the Old Sawmill District take ownership of their new condominiums next month, one of the state’s top broadband providers plans to offer them internet speeds of 1 gigabit per second, making the emerging urban hub one of the state’s first to receive the service.
CenturyLink announced the deal this week, just before residents of Polleys Square – the first completed condo unit to open in the Old Sawmill District – move in.
“They’re doing this across our other footprints, but this is the first in Montana,” said Michelle Jackson with CenturyLink. “We wanted Polleys Square to have some of the best technology available. It really opens the door to what’s available to residents who are going to live there.”
While CenturyLink prepares to connect residents of the Sawmill District to the high-speed service, Missoula is also moving forward with plans to implement open-access broadband in other areas of the city.
A master plan produced by Design Nine earlier this year calls for bringing broadband to the city’s downtown district and business corridors, and estimates the cost at $6.4 million.
Those behind the broadband effort are looking for ways to pay for and manage it. Until then, residents of the Sawmill District will be among the first in the state to capitalize off emerging high-speed internet technology.
“Several of the residents at Polleys Square will be working remotely from their home offices, so having gigabit fiber service will really enhance their experience,” said Ed Wetherbee, one of the Sawmill District’s developers. “In the very few other places in the country where this type of service has been available, individual homeowners and companies have found it to have tremendous value.”
Aided by the high-speed service, residents of the Old Sawmill District will instantly connect to gigabit speeds though CenturyLink ON, an online service that eliminates the need for equipment instillation and wait times.
Through CenturyLink ON, Jackson said, residents will have the speed and bandwidth needed to connect multiple devices, stream multiple HD movies, and upload and share files and photos.
“For now, we’re only looking at Polleys Square,” said Jackson. “This entire building has all the equipment there. Residents can go online, turn the laptop on and have the service right then and there.”
Developers will open Polleys Square with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. on July 28. Following the ceremony, the public is invited to view a model condo unit at 875 Wyoming St., Suite 106.
Attendees will also see a demonstration of CenturyLink’s 1 gigabit service.