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Residents win national award for SandyNet Fiber

City-run network a model for other communities

Two Sandy locals were awarded the Community Broadband Heroes of the Year by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA.) Sandy residents Jeremy Pietzold and Joe Knapp won the award for their work with SandyNet Fiber, a city-run fiber optic service offering high speed broadband Internet to 60 percent of community’s homes and businesses.

“We are proud to honor our 2015 individuals, communities, and organizations that lead the nation in improving broadband connectivity to all our residents,” said NATOA President Tony Perez in a press release. “These pioneers were selected based on their extraordinary efforts, achievements and innovation in community-based approaches to broadband and new technology.”

Sandy City Council President Jeremy Pietzold was “dumbfounded” when he was told about the award.

“It’s a great testament to what we have here in Sandy,” said Pietzold. “What we’ve been able to do in Sandy has made national headlines.”

Over the past few years Pietzold has traveled the U.S. talking about broadband and helping people looking into similar systems.

“Everyone around the U.S. wants to have what we have,” explained Pietzold. “I think people don’t realize how great of an asset we have.”

He and Joe Knapp, the city of Sandy’s IT director, are both planning to attend the award ceremony.

Other NATOA award winners include the city of Ellensburg, the city of Westminster, LinkNYC, Digital Dojo Coding Team and Charles Benton. Awards will be presented during NATOA’s 35th annual conference, which will be held Sept. 8-11 at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego.