Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative scheduled to begin fiber network build through Waukon’s business district as early as the start of next week

Submitted graphic.

Another big step forward in bringing fiber optic internet to downtown Waukon is expected to begin early next week, according to officials from AC Skyways, a division of Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative (ACEC) in charge of the project.

Although planning and other foundational work has been taking place for months since the awarding of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)-7 grant funding in January of this year that made the project possible, Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative General Manager Hollee McCormick says as early as Monday, September 19 residents can expect to see trenching crews begin the physical work of boring the main fiber optics lines along the mapped route (pictured above) that will bring fiber optic internet to the Waukon business district by next summer. McCormick said the original start date had been planned for July of this year but circumstances beyond most anyone’s control have pushed the start of the project back a bit.

“The trenching contractors had a tough spring with weather that put them about a month behind on other projects, so the start to our project has been delayed a bit waiting for those other projects to be completed and those crews to be available to begin this project,” McCormick said. “The sheer amount of fiber projects going in the ground coupled with supply chain issues bumped our original start date back. We were not entirely surprised, as we are seeing longer equipment lead times all over the place.”

ACEC has contracted with West Union Trenching and R&S Fiber Optic Services for the project (the main route of which is depicted in the blue lines in the map surrounding the start of this article on the Front Page of this issue of The Standard). Crews from these entities (and perhaps any subcontracted crews) are scheduled to begin the task of trenching and underground boring of the fiber optic cable early next week.

The trenching and boring work is planned to begin and take place at multiple locations along the route as it gets underway next week. Residents and other motorists are advised to remain aware when coming upon a work site location along the route mapped out on this week’s Front Page, which will sometimes cross to the opposite side of the street in some locations in an effort to create an easier pathway for the project.

In an effort to try and continue from where an initial project in Waukon provided fiber optic internet along and to the west of 9th Street NW and SW over the last year or more, the new project route’s most western point is on West Main Street near Quillin’s and heads east, eventually branching off one city block to the north and south near the 500 block of West Main to then continue along both 1st Avenue NW and SW and make its way into the down business area.

The more northern route of the project will carry across Allamakee Street to serve the Allamakee County Courthouse and Waukon City Hall, and will also loop back around to cover the first couple blocks of East Main Street in order to service Veterans Memorial Hospital and Medical Clinic. The southern route along 1st Avenue SW will continue to West Street before heading south for a couple blocks and then jutting over to Rossville Road to continue further south all the way to 7th Avenue SE and beyond to the new Pladsen subdivision area, and the WW Homestead Dairy and former Northern Engraving plant location at its most southern extent.

McCormick said the trenching and underground boring work to run the actual fiber optic cable is anticipated to take about four weeks from its September 19 start date. Contractors will then work on the “drops” (connections from the main line to homes and businesses) that are hoped to be completed by Thanksgiving.

“We have about 350 drops with this project,” McCormick said. “Arrangements for those drops have already been established when we had our people come around earlier this year and figure out with property owners the best location to connect to each home or business.”

Once the drops are completed, the splicing and testing of the main line and drop connections will then get underway, starting in December and taking most of the winter to complete. “That’s the most intensive part of the project,” McCormick explained. “We need to be sure that all of the connections we’ve made are in working order so we can complete the installations and get everybody up and running. Hopefully, if all goes well, we will begin hooking people up to that fiber optic network in late spring/early summer.”

While ACEC appreciates the patience shown by the Waukon community in the initial delay of the project due to a variety of reasons, the cooperative is asking for further consideration for crews as the project gets underway. In addition to understanding that weather will certainly impact the timeliness of the project, McCormick wants property owners and residents along the route to understand that even though initial crews may leave an area once their task is completed, there will be other crews that will follow at a later time to complete different aspects of the project and ultimately clean up and take care of areas disturbed during the construction phase of the project.

“Clean-up and restoration of any disturbed areas will be addressed, so patience is appreciated,” McCormick pleaded. “The contractors typically do their work, then come back around and fix up any disturbances. We know how much people value their yards, so we want them to feel free to call if they have a concern, but to also understand that a ‘clean-up’ crew does come back around.”

The current project represents the second phase of ACEC working to service the entire Waukon community with fiber optic internet. Grant funding from the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) has made the first two phases of that overall project possible. The recent survey that residents and property owners were asked to complete in regard to the State of Iowa’s broadband coverage map released in early August was a crucial step in additional funding being made available to complete future plans for more complete fiber optic coverage in the Waukon community and in other Allamakee County communities.

With service activation scheduled to begin in the summer of 2023 once the current fiber build is complete, those who are on the fiber route mapped out on the Front Page of this edition and have not made previous arrangements to have this service connected are invited to call 800-864-1611 Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. or email Those seeking additional information can also visit

“We are so excited to get this project underway and to work towards eventually connecting the entire city of Waukon with fiber,” McCormick shared. “It will benefit the residents and businesses in multiple ways, and we’re thrilled to be part of that!”