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Montana Opticom proposes fiber-optic line from Belgrade to Big Sky

Here’s to catching up on old topics. Montana Opticom, the ISP that in 2010 received $64 million in federal stimulus money to lay fiber-optic cable for broadband in the western portion of Gallatin County, recently applied for permission to bury some of that cable on forest service land.

According to the Gallatin National Forest, Opticom proposed installing fiber optics between Big Sky and Belgrade, which includes a roughly 15-mile portion of national forest land along Highways 191 and 84.

The line would be installed within the existing, disturbed right-of-way along those highways. You can read about the details of the proposal here and check out the scoping documents here.

The work is expected to take about 45 days, according to the forest.

The comment period on the proposal closed March 30. I have a call in to the forest to see what the next steps are and to see if there was any significant objection raised in the public comments.

On another Opticom front, you can check out the company on the ProPublica Recovery Tracker. Details on the roughly $32 million loan portion of the Opticom funding can be found here and details of the grant portion can be found here. Including with the ProPublica data is a list of the vendors connected to Opticom’s stimulus funding.

According to, out of the $64,127,322 awarded, Opticom has so far accepted $17,461,128 and spent $14,239,193. That’s as of the end of Q4 2011.