Simplified: City officials put a pause on Vast Broadband’s work in western Sioux Falls until the company has a better plan in place to communicate their work with neighbors.

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The city first began talks with Vast Broadband back in February, Principal Engineer Mike Heiberger said.

The company planned a large expansion plan, and on June 18, 16 permits covering four square miles were issued for the company to begin work.

Why it matters

  • Issues with Vast's expansion into town came to light last week when residents began noticing green boxes being installed in front of their homes without prior notification. Their concerns prompted a “large influx” of calls to the city, said Principal Engineer Mike Heiberger.
  • Mayor Paul TenHaken announced Friday would put a pause on issuing any further permits, and as of Monday, the city also asked Vast to stop any further boring (i.e. digging to install fiberoptic cables underground).
  • Brad Krebs, a spokesperson for Vast, said the company has heard the feedback from the city and residents and is making adjustments.
“We’re working with Vast to get a better communication plan out to our citizens to let them know what to expect,” Heiberger said. “They are going back to the drawing board to address those concerns.”

What’s the deal with the green boxes?

The green boxes (called “pedestals” by the company) are access points for the fiberoptic cable. The cable is placed underground using a machine that bores holes typically 3 to 3.5 feet underground.

What does Vast have to say about this?

The most immediate change will be swapping out the green pedestals for a ground-level access point, Krebs said.

“We’re also revising our approach to how we communicate with the community,” Krebs said.

What happens next?

Largely, the ball is in Vast’s court.

There’s no set timeline for when permits and further utility work will be un-paused, Heiberger said.

“The direction at this point is no new permits until they provide a communication plan,” he said.

He also asks for patience among residents as Vast works on getting their new plan out.