RG Fiber now installing fiber optic wire in Baldwin City

? The home of sister companies RG Fiber and Reflective Group at 713 High St. was mostly empty Monday as intensive renovation continued on the 114-year-old building.

A handful of employees were in the building in addition to Mike Bosch, the CEO of both companies. The majority of the two companies’ employees work from home or remotely, Bosch said, because of the limitations the available local Internet capacity imposes on services the technology company Reflective Group provides. The near-empty office also was reflective of the “hard decision” he and his partners, Casey Morford and Josh Strohm, made to scale back because of the local Internet limitation.

Two years ago this month, the partners announced the creation of RG Fiber to address that shortcoming. To the cheers of many and the skepticism of a few, Bosch said, the company would bring gigabit-capacity fiber-optic cable service to Baldwin City.

The company is now on the cusp of realizing that goal. Conduit, through which fiber cable later will be threaded, is being installed in the community and on a route to Baldwin City through two cities RG Fiber will eventually provide service to: Eudora and Lawrence. The line RG Fiber is installing will extend from existing optical fiber line near Eudora to Lawrence along Kansas Highway 10 and then south to Baldwin City. Fiber cable leased to the east will connect to a building in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the hub through which all regional gigabit traffic accesses the global Internet.

“We’re piecing this together through leases or installing our own,” Bosch said. “We’ll own the 20 miles we’re installing from Eudora through Lawrence to Baldwin City. We’ll light up 10 gigabits, which is overkill but fun.”

The new line from Lawrence will terminate at RG Fiber’s downtown office and then be distributed out to the community. The first customer will be Baker University, both the campus and the sports complex near Liston Stadium, Bosch said. It then will spread out in the community along RG Fiber’s line and those the company is leasing from the Baldwin City school district, which link the district office on Chapel Street to the elementary schools on the west side of town and the junior high and high school campus on the community’s northeast side.

Baldwin City is the company’s first priority, ahead of Eudora, which will be the next community RG Fiber serves, and then Lawrence, Bosch said. RG Fiber plans to install cable along busy business Lawrence thoroughfares such as North Second, Sixth, 23rd and Iowa streets, Bosch said.

“We’re going to have to hire quite a few fiber installers and customer support people,” Bosch said. “We’re getting quite a response from Eudora and Lawrence.”