Kingdom Telephone uses to get fiber-optic internet through Columbia-based Bluebird Network

Kingdom Telephone customers will have the option of faster connection to the Internet.

Bluebird Network — an internet service provider Kingdom Telephone has a financial stake in — completed the process of laying down 1,300 route miles of fiber optics to its existing network, 38.79 of which are in the area of Kingdom Telephone users.

Kingdom Telephone — which provides phone and Internet services to seven exchanges in Callaway and Montgomery counties — provides a broadband connection, but with the new technology, the company will be able to increase its bandwidth while keeping its monthly prices similar to what they are now said Bluebird Network CEO Michael Morey.

“It’s more about getting a higher bandwidth than providing lower costs,” Morey said.

Bluebird is based out of Columbia and is the product of a merger of Bluebird Media, Missouri Network Alliance and Illinois Network Alliance resulting in a reach going as far as Chicago, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Des Moines, Iowa; and Memphis, Tennessee. The recent additions in Missouri, deemed the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program, was made possible by a $45 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Adminstration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The upgrade will cover 59 Missouri counties north of U.S. Highway 50 to the Iowa border and from Kansas City to St. Louis.

Schools and other anchor institutions in Kingdom Telephone’s coverage area will be provided with the Internet as per the stipulations of the grant that financed Bluebird’s expansion.

Kingdom Telephone General Manager Tom Young said service will also benefit web browsers that primarily use their phones. He reiterated Morey’s point about lower costs and Kingdom Telephone’s status as a community-owned company.

“Bluebird helps us keep our prices down so we don’t have to increase it since our customers are shareholders since we are a cooperative,” Young said.

Josh Mosley can be reached at (573) 826-2423, or by email at josh@fultonsun.com.

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