On August 31, GRM Networks hosted Fiber Field Day, an event that brought together policy makers and industry partners to see firsthand how GRM Networks is bringing fiber infrastructure for high-speed internet to northern Missouri and southern Iowa.
The day’s events began at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Mount Moriah, Missouri, and included an opening ceremony and working demonstrations of fiber deployment and splicing. Attendees then moved to the GRM Networks office in Princeton, Missouri, for lunch and a town hall discussion. The day ended with a tour of GRM Networks’ Princeton network access facility.
Mount Moriah is the first exchange to be built to fiber through the $15.7 million grant GRM Networks was awarded last fall from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ReConnect Program. This award will allow GRM Networks to fulfill its pledge to bring Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology to all its customers. Upon completion of this fiber build by the end of 2025, GRM Networks will be 100 percent fiber, providing all its customers access to fiber broadband internet.
Opening ceremonies included remarks from Andrew Berke, USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator; Josh Seidemann, Vice President of Policy and Industry Innovation, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association and Missouri State Representative Danny Busick.
During his opening remarks, Administrator Berke acknowledged that GRM Networks is the first project in the nation to begin construction from this funding program. “I want to put this in a larger context and make sure you know how big a deal it is and why I am here,” said Berke. “This is the very first project that is underway out of the $65 billion that is the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This is the very first one to get started. Huge moment for a very important part of what’s going on in America; and I just want to make sure we highlight this.”
The town hall discussion covered the importance that investing in high-speed internet connectivity has in narrowing the digital divide between rural America and the rest of the world.
The town hall brought together local leaders to discuss and address the importance of high-speed internet in rural America and the impact of GRM Networks’ fiber on telehealth, distance learning, business development and precision agriculture.
Town hall panelist and Superintendent of Princeton R-5 Schools Jerry Girdner, highlighted the role broadband plays in education as well as eliminating distance barriers and allowing families to watch their children and grandchildren participate in fall sports and other activities. Brittney Siddens, Director of Nursing at the Harrison County Community Hospital, also participated in the town hall panel and spoke about how broadband provides her older patients the convenience of specialized appointments through telehealth.
Ethan Pitt, Vice President of Community Initiatives for the Iowa Area Development Group, spoke about the impact of fiber internet on economic development noting fiber broadband as a selling point to businesses. Gary Porter, Owner/Operator of Porter Farms and a member of the Corn Board of the National Corn Growers Association and past President, Missouri Corn Growers Association, talked about the evolution of agriculture and the role broadband plays in his family’s operation.
See more pictures from the day’s events on our Facebook page.