Throughout the spring and summer, construction crews for GRM Networks have been building fiber to customers in the rural Missouri exchanges of Bethany, Princeton and Spickard and in the Iowa exchanges of Blockton and Grand River. Dry weather has allowed crews to make great progress and many customers already have a fiber drop in place from the mainline to their home or business. While construction has been progressing there are obstacles that may prevent fiber service from being turned up until next year.

“Even though construction has been completed to some customer locations, fiber will not be turned on until construction to all customers in the exchange is completed,” said Dirk Schwartzkopf, Director of Plant Operations at GRM Networks. “There is also a large amount of work behind the scenes that has to be completed prior to setting up new electronics.”

Covid Complications

Like many other industries, GRM Networks is also experiencing challenges receiving equipment. “Supply chain issues related to the pandemic have impacted the availability of required materials and equipment,” said Schwartzkopf. “For example, materials that we ordered in 2020 and were supposed to be delivered in March 2021, still have not arrived. This has slowed down our progress and may delay our ability to turn up the fiber service as soon as we would like.”

While supply chain issues are beyond the control of GRM Networks, Schwartzkopf emphasizes that contractors and employees are doing everything possible to bring fiber-to-the-premise to our members. “It is frustrating for us as well, but unfortunately it looks like it will probably be next year before we are able to cut our members over to the new fiber,” said Schwartzkopf. “We will keep working to get the fiber lit up as soon as possible.”