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Thu, June 30

USFS considers extension of fiber optics from Flagstaff to Ash Fork

Kaibab National Forest is considering authorizing a new fiber optic line between Flagstaff and Ash Fork, Arizona. (Photo/Adobe Stock)

Kaibab National Forest is considering authorizing a new fiber optic line between Flagstaff and Ash Fork, Arizona. (Photo/Adobe Stock)

line between Flagstaff and Ash Fork is currently under consideration by Kaibab National Forest (KNF).

KNF would need to approve the line since it would be run through parts of the forest.

Arcadian Infracom, LLC has proposed the installation of high-capacity fiber optic cable to connect Tribal and rural communities to major metropolitan areas, which would benefit public education, healthcare, and economic development by providing these communities with access to sufficient bandwidth for data intensive applications.

The proposed fiber optic line would follow the Transwestern Pipeline Corridor, north of Interstate-40, running east-west from the eastern forest boundary to the western forest boundary, along Forest Service Roads 160 and 246U.

Approximately 170, 533 feet (32.3 miles) of the project is proposed to run through the Williams Ranger District. The remainder of the line would be on the Coconino National Forest, as well as sections of state and private lands.

The total disturbance on the Kaibab National Forest would be a temporary construction corridor of 58.7 acres (15’ wide x 32.3 miles) for construction, with a permanent right-of-way totaling 39.2acres (10’ wide x 32.3 miles).

In 2021, the KNF approved installation of fiber optic cable from Paulden to Ash Fork along Highway 89. Arcadian Infracom has applied to amend their existing special use permit to authorize the Flagstaff to Ash Fork segment, which is part of a larger network of high-capacity fiber optic lines providing internet service to rural communities.

Additional information about the project, including a map, can be found on the Arcadian Fiber Optic Line Project Website.

District Ranger Debra Mollet invites public comment about the proposed fiber optic line and is considering use of this categorical exclusion to authorize the project on the national forest: Additional construction or reconstruction of existing telephone or utility lines in a designated corridor (36 CFR 220.6(e)(2)).

The deadline to submit written comments is May 27.

Comments can be submitted by email to comments-southwestern-kaibab@usda.gov, by mail to 742 S. Clover Road, Williams, AZ 86046, or fax to 928-635-5680.

For questions, contact Chelsea Muise at Chelsea.Muise@usda.gov or 928-635-8275.

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