“They’re everywhere.” That has been the response of Placerville residents to the slew of drilling equipment and trucks along Green Valley Road, Cold Springs Road, Missouri Flat Road and Mallard Lane in Placerville. On July 10, drilling trucks were also in Cool.
“There are about 18 active crews in your area,” said Mike Stewart of the Central Valley Independent Network (CVIN). The crews are installing fiber optic cable as part of the Central Valley Independent Network’s (CVIN) “Next Generation Broadband Infrastructure Project.” BIP is connecting 18 California counties from Colusa County to Kern County via fiber optic to the Corporation for Education Network Intitiatives in California’s (CENIC) statewide fiber-based backbone and to the worldwide Internet.
Some of the crews, from a variety of different companies, are drilling the holes for the plastic pipe, some are placing the cable, others are setting vaults or doing joinage.
Using $46.6 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds and a $20 million investment from private partners, the infrastructure project stretches over 1,300 miles to connect 19 county offices of education sites, 14 community college sites, three California State University sites, 20 county/main libraries and seven public safety sites as anchor institutions.
The El Dorado County Office of Education and the Placerville Main Branch of the County Library will be connected to this backbone, enhancing existing high-speed networking capability.
The project aims to expand the connection to include healthcare facilities, school sites, community-based organizations, businesses and government agencies to have access to high-speed networking at more reasonable costs, but it doesn’t include connections for residential homes at the moment, said Stewart.
“We will be offering this to commercial businesses as well and to ISPs to improve their wholesale bandwidth,” said Stewart. “We’ll be able to do extensions off the network to help businesses connect to wireless high-speed and reduce their costs and we’ll be able to offer local ISPs a lower cost Internet bandwidth.”
The Federal Communications Commission’s goal is to have at least 100 million U.S. homes with affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 Mb/s and actual upload speeds of at least 50 Mb/s. While CVIN’s BIP doesn’t include residential connections in El Dorado County, it does plan for a last mile wireless build-out in Fresno, Kings, Kern and Tulare counties to provide service to 1,549,008 households to help meet the FCC goal.
The fiber optic cable installation is scheduled to be completed in El Dorado County in 60 days, said Stewart. Upon completion, he will begin marketing the cable service to businesses and ISPs.
According to the BIP Website, the Central Valley produces 8 percent of the nation’s agricultural output by value but almost 57 percent of the Valley is either underserved or unserved by broadband infrastructure. BIP’s fiber-based infrastructure links the Valley counties together and will offer more access, more bandwidth and lower costs.
For more information about BIP, go to cvngbip.com.
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.