DILLER, NE — Another cluster of rural southeast Nebraska has fiber optic internet access.

Diller Telephone Diode Communications recently completed work on a project north of Ellis and east of Plymouth that provides fiber optic internet to 70 homes in the area.

Diller Telephone Diode Communications CEO Randy Sandman said it took 26 miles of fiber lines to complete.

“We’re really happy it’s done,” he said. “In fact, we did it a few months in advance.”

Connecting rural residents to fiber is a different animal from connecting a city to the high-speed Internet option. Teams must take great care when setting up the lines, which are glass and about as thick as a human hair.

“We have great staff with many years of experience,” Sandman said. “We also have a great relationship with a contractor who is dedicated to installing fiber in the ground in rural areas.”

As technology becomes more advanced and more integrated into the agriculture industry, Sandman says access to the high internet speeds provided by fiber optic cables is important for agricultural producers.

“People need fiber for the increased ability to do homeschooling or work from home, but in agriculture, it’s just as crucial,” Sandman said. “Every farm should have high broadband capacity.”

The company has yet to finish working to bring fiber optic internet to rural parts of southeastern Nebraska. The company is awaiting news of two grants to begin work on two more projects. One would be supplemented with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in Jefferson County to provide the service to 100 homes. The other project, in Gage County, would connect 40 additional homes to fiber internet.

“We look forward to continuing to serve more of our neighbors,” Sandman said. “Just to fill in the gaps. Our business wants to grow methodically to connect more people to fiber broadband.”