I’m a little slow on this – but in April Carver County posted an update on their ARRA-funded fiber project. As they report…
According to conversations with Fed staff, the CCOFI project continues to be meeting expectations and on a number of sustainability, interconnectivity and collaborative aspects of the project, the County is well ahead of many other ARRA fiber projects, in how we are operating during this construction phase of the project and how we are planning for the future operational and management phase of the project once construction is complete.
As we’ve reported the federal government is taking a closer look at the ARRA projects, so I thought it was particularly interesting to see Carver County’s update because they callout two of the main considerations I have heard from the various projects (fiber and permits) …
- Construction – As of March 30, we have completed approximately 92 miles of the overall 132 miles of construction consisting of approximately 83 miles of our overall 89 miles of base ring construction and 9 miles of our overall 33 miles of lateral construction.
- Fiber Availability – When we celebrated our fiber construction kickoff in the fall of 2011 there continued to be an industry wide shortage of fiber caused by a number of economic, supply demand and environmental factors. The Carver County Open Fiber Initiative (CCOFI), along with a number of other American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) fiber projects, was impacted by this lack of fiber availability, causing us to change how we had originally planned to construct the project. Instead of installing the fiber at the same time as we installed the two 1.25” communication conduits, we are instead installing the conduits first and as fiber becomes available, we go back and blow the fiber into the conduit. As of this past quarter, the pressure of the fiber availability issue has eased considerably as we have received approximately 95% of the fiber needed for our 89 mile base ring. We are still awaiting the shipments of our 33 miles of smaller count lateral fiber, which is slated for delivery in the first to mid part of the second quarter of 2012.
- Permits – There are a number of jurisdictions that the County is communicating with regarding the variety of permits needed for the project including city, railroad, DNR, MN DOT, township, pipeline and even the County itself. As of this past quarter we have submitted and received approval for approximately 80% of the permits needed to complete the construction of the project. With changing how we were originally going to construct the project due to the fiber availability issue, for some of the permits that have limited timeframes to complete the requested construction, we are waiting to submit for these specific permits to avoid them expiring before we are able to complete the respective construction.
- Fiber Huts – There are three fiber distribution huts that are identified in the project. The huts are located in Cologne, Victoria and Mayer. During this past quarter, the County finalized discussions on the needed permits for the huts at all locations and began initial drafting of the bid proposal for their construction.
- Building Penetrations – As of this past quarter, approximately 50% of all locations in the project are ready for fiber conduit installs.
- Splicing and Network Design – Over the past quarter, CCOFI staff have spent a considerable amount of time discussing and beginning the design of the overall network and splicing plan, which is the equivalent of adding intersections, turn lanes and bridges to a stretch of currently open highway, allowing vehicles or in the case of fiber, data, to get to the locations where it is desired.
- Equipment Bid –We look to issue the equipment bid in June or July.
Carver County Schools Network (CCSN) – As one of the collaborative initiatives of the fiber project, the County assisted in the creation of the Carver County Schools Network (CCSN), which is a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the seven school districts in Carver County. This JPA established a consortium to allow these entities to collaborate on a variety of opportunities. During the past quarter the CCSN used this newly formed consortium to apply for and receive eRate funding.
- Additional Laterals – Outside of the ARRA Funded CCOFI project, the County has been in discussions with Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs, the entities participating in the project) regarding potential additional connections into the fiber ring. The County has provided CAIs with construction costs for upwards of 90 additional laterals and discussions are ongoing on the number of these sites that will be actively pursued for construction during original and future construction timeframes for connection into the fiber ring.
- Budget – As of March 31, we have expended approximately $4.5 million of our overall project budget of $7.5 million, with the majority for construction costs.