Butte, Montana Schools to Get Fiber Network from Fatbeam

  • Fatbeam
  • Montana Economic Revitalization and Development Institute (MERDI)
POST FALLS, ID - Fatbeam, a competitive access provider delivering data transport services to customers in the Western U.S., announced that construction is underway to build out its high capacity fiber optic network in Butte, Montana. At an estimated cost of $1.6 million, Fatbeam will rival Google Fiber’s 1 Gigabit offering in certain U.S cities by delivering 2 Gbps to each of the 14 Butte School District locations. Long-term contracts signed by both the Butte School District and the Montana Economic Revitalization and Development Institute (MERDI) were key drivers to Fatbeam’s investment.

“Obviously we have great respect for Google, so anytime you can replicate their success by investing fiber in a community, deliver greater connectivity for education and drive economic development at the same time, everyone wins,” stated Greg Green, president of Fatbeam.

Fiber Infrastructure to Drive New Services
“Butte School District and MERDI are leveraging the services of Fatbeam to bring transformative technological infrastructure that is a first of a kind model for the communities within the State of Montana,” stated Phillip J. Curtiss, Ph.D. and owner of SIAFU Technology Group, which manages the MERDI data center in Butte. The high-capacity fiber network in conjunction with the prior investment that MERDI made in its data center will help drive a large number of services, such as virtual desktop infrastructure, virtual private clusters, high-speed broadband access to the Internet, disaster recovery and business continuity services that are today not readily available in Butte, Montana. “As part of the technology investment, the Butte School District is well positioned to ensure our students acquire the necessary skills to be successful in the 21st century and put us in a position to integrate our curriculum to inspire, challenge and engage the next generation of students,” stated Judy Jonart the Superintendent of Schools.

Like most rural communities in America, Butte has its history of success and decline, much centered on its long history in the mining industry. Butte was one of the largest cities west of the Mississippi in 1890 and peeked with a population of 95,000 in 1920. However, after a steady decline over the last several decades, Butte now has 34,200 in population and is currently Montana’s fifth largest city. So it’s not surprising that economic development and a vision of the future are a core focus for the community business leaders.

“While today the mining industry is very much alive in Butte, MERDI understands the value of fiber optics and technology and what they can do to support our existing Butte business base and provide another economic development tool to attract other industries and jobs for our community and state,” commented Jim Kambich, President and CEO of MERDI.


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