- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CHANUTE, Kan. (AP) - A panel is recommending that the Kansas Corporation Commission approves Chanute’s plans to extend ultra-high fast broadband internet to its residents and businesses.

Chanute is required by state law to get the KCC’s permission to sell bonds that would fund Internet service for the town’s 9,200 residents. The proposed service would have a download speed of 1 gigabit and cost an estimated $40 per month. That’s 14 times faster and 60 percent cheaper than the fastest Internet service currently available in Chanute, The Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/1wuOwaT ).

Commission staff members who analyzed Chanute’s program said it wouldn’t duplicate existing broadband service and that it is appropriate for the city to provide Internet service to its residents - two findings required by the decades-old state law. The three KCC commissioners often follow the recommendations of the staff.

“Although there are current providers of telecommunications and broadband services in the Chanute area, the existing utility services are not identical or the same as that proposed by Chanute,” the report said.

AT&T;, which provides Internet service to Chanute, has asked to intervene in the case but a company official said Monday the company had not taken a position on Chanute’s plan.

“As a provider in the area, any decision made by the KCC could impact AT&T;’s business operations, which is why we asked to be included in the proceeding and learn more about the application,” the company said in a statement.

Chanute officials say AT&T; and Cable One have declined to install fiber networks because Chanute is too small to guarantee profit.

The city already provides fiber broadband service to government facilities, some businesses and the local hospital and community college. City parks also are covered with free Wi-Fi.

If approved, Chanute’s broadband system would be available in every home and be as fast as the Google Fiber network being deployed in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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