Neil Trayvor and other APS employees at Oct. 2021 Chamber luncheon

Neil Trayvor and other APS employees at the October 2021 chamber luncheon. Trayvor announced APS will complete the broadband loop from Payson to Phoenix in the next two years. Local broadband service providers have already started negotiations to lease space from APS.

The Arizona Public Service company will string high-capacity broadband fiber between Payson and Scottsdale, hopefully by next summer.

“We submitted the construction permit to the Tonto National Forest back in August. We’re working with them to expedite the approval,” said Dominic Pagliuca, APS senior manager of information technology.

The new high-capacity line would complete the broadband loop needed for Rim Country to have redundancy.

Rim Country has struggled being at the end of the broadband line with internet outages caused by backhoes, accidents and even squirrels.

Currently, two broadband lines meet in Payson, but they do not join to complete a loop.

Since the 1990s, CenturyLink provided a line that came down from I-40, then up from Camp Verde, through Pine and ended in Payson. Last year, Sparklight completed a line from Show Low through Heber and Forest Lakes to also stop in Payson.

Neither line meets up.

Nor has either company made a move to solve the problem by connecting.

APS offers either company an opportunity to have redundancy if they connect. This opportunity saves either company the expense of building expensive infrastructure over an area that would provide few customers to pay back the investment.

Members of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce heard the good news during their October luncheon. Neil Trayvor, division manager, announced APS has already completed the first part of the loop that comes up from Phoenix, goes through Prescott and Flagstaff and ends in Joseph City, where the Cholla Power Plant churns out power.

“There are a couple of reasons I am building that high-capacity line,” he said. “So, my assets can talk to each other … to have real time communication …(and) so telecommunications can tap into my line and bring that to the residents.”

APS may only provide wholesale broadband access. It may not provide individual customer broadband, like CenturyLink and Sparklight. Already, APS is a government-sponsored monopoly to provide power. They cannot expand into another public utility service beyond that mandate.

To provide the broadband redundancy, APS will lease space on its broadband line.

“One glass fiber could serve all of Payson,” said Pagliuca.

It’s surprising how much all those bundles of glass fiber weigh. The lines APS will string along the path of its transmission lines proved so heavy, Pagliuca said the company must place 45-foot wooden poles next to the transmission lines to carry the weight.

The added construction complicated the issue.

“The original plan was to use the original transmission towers,” said Pagliuca, but added, “Given the complexity of the build, we think a NEPA (study) would be appropriate.”

The Forest Service completes a NEPA study on any permanent human activity in the forest, from building roads to stringing electrical wires to digging a water pipeline.

Trayvor doesn’t mind the wait as it’s all close to completion.

“It’s been many years to bring to fruition,” he said. “The last piece connected along the I-40 is not far off. This is a really exciting project.”

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(1) comment

Phil Mason

Obviously, I support any efforts to bring redundancy to Payson, and I appreciate APS stepping up.

My only question is why are they even bothering with the swamp creatures at the Forest Service when the state has granted access to their right of way where their fiber optic network is already in place.

Can anyone answer why that option is not being utilized without the time and trouble of the NFS.

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