As an organization that has been around since 1900, MP&W has seen a lot of milestones reached and surpassed. Think about how the world has changed just within our 117-year history.

In 1900, widespread electric power, telephones and automobiles were still a novelty. The Wright brothers had not yet successfully flown their airplane, and it would be decades before television, computers and space travel were commonplace. What was once science fiction is now routine. We live in an age when technology is doubling every few years.

That’s why we at MP&W are excited about fiber to the home, and you should be, too. A 100 percent fiber-optic communications network is our ticket to the future. Cities with fiber will have untold advantages in quality of life and economic development going forward. Cities without it will lag behind and struggle to compete on the world stage.

The Communications Utility of Muscatine Power and Water exists for precisely those reasons. I had the privilege of being involved at the start of this effort and I remember the 1997 voter mandate. Our citizens did not want our community to fall behind others with advanced communication capabilities. They recognized that the for-profit, private providers at the time were not going to invest the capital required in Muscatine.

Their vote set in motion the 1998 construction of a robust fiber-based communication system — a hybrid fiber coaxial system, also known as HFC. The newly developed digital technology provided numerous TV channels and two-way interactive services for on-demand movie and event services. By late 1999, broadband Internet service was delivered via the system.

Today, MP&W is launching the next chapter. Building on the good fiber “bones” of our HFC system, we are now building out fiber to every communication utility customer to again fulfill that voter mandate — to not let this city fall behind and be disadvantaged.

Muscatine will become a “Gigabit community” — one of the few cities in the nation able to offer 1,000-Megabit per second broadband service to every customer address in our service area, along with advanced Internet Protocol TV services (IPTV), and shortly, voice over Internet telephone service (VoIP).

The Fiber to the Home project is a world-class service solution, that is critical for Muscatine and its future. The Internet has evolved from a small information resource and email communication system, to a service that is not only critical to the functioning of our business and industry, but something that nearly all of us use almost continually, and in ways we could not have imagined at the inception of the Internet.

The forecast is that the average family home will have 50 internet-connected devices in just a few short years. A fiber connection is the essential conduit for enabling all those devices to work simultaneously accessing and loading applications and information at high speeds, but that’s just the beginning. Fiber will also transform our customers’ television experience, and give them a truly local choice for local and long-distance calling.

It’s an exciting time, and I am pleased to know that our hometown will be one of the leaders of communications technology. We encourage customers who would like to receive special email updates and other helpful information to become a Fiber Fan by signing up online at

Sal LoBianco is general manager of Muscatine Power & Water.