UPDATE:Another company, FyberCom, is offering a connection of 15 Mbps for zero dollars.
AMMON — Ammon Fiber Optics customers’ internet service bill could drop substantially. One of the service providers just offered a plan for $1.88 a month for 15 Mbps with no contract and no data cap.
Prices have fallen since the city introduced an open market system.
Customers can watch the price companies are offering, see what is included in those packages and make changes to their accounts monthly from home.
“It’s like Amazon, so when you log in, you can see the various internet packages they want to sell you. You choose the one you want and click on it,” said Bruce Patterson, Ammon city technology director.
Ammon City Mayor Sean Coletti said multiple companies are competing for business by providing different packages for different speeds, and right now, QWK.net has the lowest price.
“We don’t interfere with any decisions to raise or lower service prices. We’ve just watched as it has fallen. These are insane prices. They may be the lowest in the whole country. We believe in a market-driven economy on this system. That’s the magic that we’ve created that hasn’t been available before,” Coletti said.
With four providers that compete for residential customers and four more competing for business customers, the market place model is groundbreaking, city officials said.
“The beautiful thing about the marketplace is that you don’t have to install a completely different wire to your home — you have all of these choices on one wire. That’s why we feel this is the future,” Patterson said. “We have truthfully separated the cost. That fiber really belongs to that property owner, it increases the value of their home, and they should be able to decide what’s on it. The reverse of that is the traditional model, where the operator owns the wire, and they say what’s on it and if you want someone else, you have to have another wire run to your home, and that’s the only way to get another choice.”
A thousand homes in Ammon have access to the fiber right now, and the city wants to add 500 to 1,000 homes a year. The city is installing fiber to the side of the roads in existing neighborhoods and will connect the nearby homes if property owners sign up.
“We have about 1,000 homes we’ve passed, and about 600 of them are currently connected, and we have orders for 200 more, and that number grows every day,” Patterson said.
If you sign up as the construction is taking place, the city has introduced a voluntary local improvement district to help with the installation fee. If you want more information about how this service and the costs to install the wire into your home, Ammon Fiber will be holding an informational meeting on the LID Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. at Mountain Valley Elementary School. It is specifically for the communities where fiber is being installed right now, but anyone in the city is invited.
Patterson is optimistic about this way of providing internet.
“We need to get to a point where the community owns the wire and then the providers will want to come and compete across that wire, and you can create an open marketplace, and that will dramatically change the price across the country,” Patterson said.