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March 21, 2013
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Nevada County high-speed Internet project making progress

Project managers tasked with installing 44 miles of fiberoptic cable to enhance Internet infrastructure in Nevada County have completed about 18 miles of the project, officials said Thursday.

The Central Valley Next-Generation Broadband Infrastructure Project, which includes Nevada County and 17 other counties spanning south from Colusa to Bakersfield and Nevada City to Mariposa, began installing miles of fiberoptic cable throughout Nevada County about two months ago.

The project, which is being administered by Minnesota-based MPnexlevel, is scheduled to be completed in late June or early July, said Jim Warren of Vali Cooper & Associates, a Sacramento-based construction consultant company. The companies have encountered numerous delays in construction due to impediments, such as rock formations along county roads that have proved unyielding to conventional equipment, Warren said.

“We’ve had to bore through rock in some instances,” Warren said, adding similar projects in the Central Valley were not accompanied by such impediments.

The network is scheduled to be operational in the autumn, Warren said.

However, John Paul of Spiral Internet, a Nevada City-based independent Internet service provider, said the four entities that are guaranteed immediate access to the high-speed network include Pleasant Valley School, Nevada Union High School, Bear River High School and Madelyn Helling Library.

Individual residents or business owners desirous of hooking up to the network may have to wait longer, Paul said.

Spiral Internet is in the process of finalizing plans to utilize the open-access network to begin providing service to commercial and residential properties, but it will be a two- to seven-year process to get Nevada County hooked up, he said.

Paul said his small company will provide a detailed plan before the network is completed in early summer, replete with maps and explicit blueprints regarding how the network will be built.

“It will be phased in,” Paul said of the plans. “It will start in a specific geographic area and move from that.”

A lack of high-speed Internet has dogged the economic vitality of the region for the past decade, officials have said. A survey of business owners in western Nevada County conducted by the Economic Resource Council in 2011 demonstrated that the paucity of Internet coverage was the single largest issue, according to previous reports.

“High-speed Internet is essentially like having running water to many businesses,” said Economic Resource Council Executive Director Robert Trent.

“Getting more access to broadband in Nevada County is an essential component to business growth and economic growth.”

Trent said Nevada County’s relative proximity to Silicon Valley makes it an ideal location for Internet start-ups. Adding to the area’s attractiveness, Nevada County has long hosted technology-centric enterprises, meaning a substantial amount of intellectual capital exists in the area.

Work on laying fiberoptic wire began Jan. 15 on Mooney Flat Road with wire being strung underground along Pleasant Valley Road and Bitney Springs Road.

From there, the company proceeded to Empress Road, Newtown Road and installations near the Eric Rood Administrative Center, where the company is currently stationed performing work.

The rest of the project will proceed through Nevada City and Grass Valley, passing by Nevada Union High School and down McCourtney Road to Wolf and Combie roads connecting to Bear River High School, Warren said.

Work performed on the shoulder will require traffic control, and the construction continues to attempt to mitigate impacts to residential properties, roads and driveways, Warren said.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

“Getting more access to broadband in Nevada County is an essential component to business growth and economic growth.”
— ERC Director Robert Trent


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The Union Updated Mar 23, 2013 02:17AM Published Mar 25, 2013 12:31AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.