News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

High-speed internet hits Mill City 

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

By James Day

The Santiam Canyon continues to receive better links to the outside world in its post-wildfire recovery environment.

Ziply Fiber, which installed a new fiber network in Detroit and Idanha in late 2020, now has gone live with new connectivity in Mill City. The new network will give the 1,600 potential customers in Mill City the same speed as those in much larger cities, Ziply Fiber officials said.

“I’m extremely pleased with the investment that Ziply Fiber is making in Mill City and the North Santiam Canyon,” said Mill City Mayor Tim Kirsch. “Infrastructure of this nature is crucial to rural communities and the people that want to live there. It is what promotes business, economic growth and livability.”

Harold Zeitz, CEO of Ziply Fiber, said the company “is proud to continue our mission of building the fastest, most advanced internet network in the Northwest with the launch of Mill City’s multi-gig, fiber-optic internet network. (This) launch proves you don’t need to live in a big city to have great internet.”

Dan Miller, a public relations consultant working with Ziply on the Mill City project, noted that “we’ve gone a step further and have enabled not just the gig-speed connectivity that we talked about back in August (when) we were getting ready to build, but also have enabled 2-gig and 5-gig speeds.”

This means, he said, that Mill City residents now have faster internet than can be found at homes in Portland, Seattle, LA, New York and “pretty much every major city in the country.”

New and existing customers who wish to check their address for fiber availability or who would like to sign-up to be alerted when fiber internet is available at their home or business, can register at https://ziplyfiber.com/new-fiber-locations/oregon/mill-city. When fiber is shown as available at their address, Ziply’s existing DSL customers can upgrade by calling 1-866-699-4759.

The work in Mill City is part of Ziply Fiber’s commitment to invest more than $500 million during the next two to three years to build an advanced, 100-percent fiber network to both suburban and rural communities across the Pacific Northwest that have been underserved when it comes to internet access. The company has been actively building fiber across the Northwest since June 2020 and has plans to build and deploy new fiber-optic cables, local hubs, new offices, and new hardware to run the network as part of hundreds of additional projects across its 250,000-square-mile footprint.

In addition to the direct work for customers Ziply Fiber also has focused on the strength and resiliency of its entire infrastructure and processes.

“We also spent a lot of time thinking through our preparedness strategies around wildfires and other potential natural disasters,” Miller said. 

“In both Detroit and Idanha, as well as dozens of other cities around the Northwest that are in wildfire-prone areas, we completely revamped our central offices, equipping them with replacement batteries, diesel fuel, on-site generators, and rapid-deploy generators on trailers, as well as Wi-Fi signal boosters, portable charging stations, and other critical components.”

The goal, Miller said, is “to make sure customers and first-responders have power and connectivity as soon as possible after an emergency. 

“We know we can’t prevent disasters from happening, but we want to be as prepared as possible to respond as quickly and thoroughly as possible in the event that one does happen.”

In the earlier Detroit-Idanha area work, Ziply Fiber added telephone poles in addition to replacing the old copper/digital subscriber line (DSL) network.  

The network is available, Miller said, at more than 300 locations (residential or business addresses), and in Idanha it’s available at nearly 150 locations.

Ziply Fiber, which purchased the assets of Frontier in 2020, is headquartered in Kirkland, Washington, and has major offices in Everett, Washington; Beaverton, Oregon; and Hayden, Idaho.

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