Digital 395 jumps another hurdle

hwy395Forest Service Approval of the Digital 395 Middle-Mile Project

BISHOP, Calif., May 24, 2012 – On Wednesday May 23, Forest Supervisor Ed Armenta signed a Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Digital 395 Middle-Mile Project.  The selected alternative is to install, operate, and maintain approximately 49 miles of underground fiber-optic cable on the Mammoth, Mono Lake, and White Mountain Ranger Districts of the Inyo National Forest. The selected alternative is part of a 593-mile network of middle-mile fiber-optic cable and associated infrastructure from Barstow, California to Reno, Nevada. The purpose of the Digital 395 Middle-Mile Project is to improve local internet services and provide diverse routing between northern and southern California and southern Nevada.  Installation of the fiber-optic cable is expected to begin in the summer of 2012 and be completed in 2013.

The Decision Notice/Finding of No Significant Impact and Environmental Assessment are available for review at the Inyo National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 351 Pacu Lane in Bishop, or on the internet at

The decision is subject to appeal pursuant to regulations at 36 CFR 215.  Appeals must be filed (postmarked) within 45 days of the date the legal notice of this decision is published in The Inyo Register.  The legal notice of decision is expected to publish in The Inyo Register on May 26, 2012.

Please contact Forest Planner Susan Joyce at (760) 873-2516 if you have questions about the project or appeal procedures.


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11 Responses to Digital 395 jumps another hurdle

  1. Fed Up May 25, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    This is great news going forward. I wonder is my understanding correct that now there will be a comment and challenge period to this FONSI.

    I remember all too well about these things for example the Mammoth lakes airport. Some environmental group challenged the that FONSI report. I hope the lead agency did their due diligence so there well be no challenge. If there is any challenge to these reports we the people of the Eastern sierra need to ban together to get past those issues. This project is very important to all of us. It’s not just about higher surfing speeds it’s about redundancy and failover , that we have a second way out for communications. Mono county felt the impact of a one cable system a couple of months ago when the dairy truck broke the fiber cable going up to Mono county.

    Let’s hope this project start in June!

  2. Ken Warner May 26, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    The various suits that the Sierra Club and other organizations opened against the development plans at the Mammoth Yosemite Airport were to refute the Findings of No Significant Impact issued by the FAA. And eventually, the FAA reviewed their original finding and refuted it’s original assessment because the airport layout plan was simply not adequate for the proposed purpose.

    It’s a different deal with the fiber cable. Some wanted the cable trenched underground to preserve view-shed — Verizon thinks that will be too expensive. That point of disagreement apparently has been decided since the FONSI is for an underground installation.

    • fed up May 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      Verizon has no stake in this construction of Digital 395 from my knowledge. If Verizon wants to tap into a node that is their choice. The project is the California Broadband cooperative not affiliated with Verizon. Verizon will be a customer. I think you are refereeing to Verizon’s own fiber project a few years ago.

  3. Ken Warner May 26, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    …but after reading a little about Digital 395, I find myself wondering how exactly D-395 will become available to me. The trunk line runs along 395 but how is that going to be connected to me. I’m a Verizon customer. Is Verizon going to use D-395? I see mention that “unused bandwidth will be available to ‘last mile’ providers” — which in my case is Verizon.

    How is this all going to work out for people with existing service?


    • Benett Kessler May 27, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      Internet providers like Verizon and the cable company will arrange to use the additional bandwidth provided by D-395. That’s how it will get to all of us. BK

      • Ken Warner May 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

        But Verizon is also said to be installing a fiber optic cable between Mammoth and Bishop. I wonder how those two separate projects interact.

        Will D-395 subsume Verizon’s project? Verizon wanted to string the cable above ground and that was being objected to.

        The best outcome would be to have both Verizon’s cable and D-395.

        Do you have any info on that possibility?

        • fed up May 28, 2012 at 11:53 am #

          Ken,Where did you hear that Verizon is to string a new Fiber from Bishop to Mammoth?
          Verizon completed that project a few years ago. That is the fiber that got cut by the milk truck last month. Wendy at the times wrongly reported that the Verizon fiber was not complete. Well if you are not convinced follow the cable from the school where the cable was cut up along the dirt road up long valley, across crowley past the airpiort, alongside the geo plant. through shady rest into a underground conduit into the Verizon offices in mammoth.

          • Ken Warner May 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

            You are probably right and I am no doubt confused. The information I’ve been able to find says that the existing cable is near obsolete being a patch work. There has been some contention about the section through Swall Meadows which I guess is now done. That apparently was completed in 2008.

            So there will be no new cable installation by Verizon but we will still have the exiting cable.


            The PUC investigated and issued a resolution last Thursday which grants a deviation on the scenic highway rule with a $5,000 fine. But the PUC also ordered Verizon to provide broadband service to Swall Meadows and Crowley within 18 months of the approval of this PUC resolution regardless of the outcome of Verizon’s application for grant money to pay for this project.

            If a bunch of new customers are added to the existing Verizon trunk line, that’s going to really impact us here in Mammoth. Service is already maxed.


            During the early 2000s, the cable was probably at or near state of the art quality, but has since aged 10 years. And at the time, many of the popular devices that are now commonplace and demand significant amounts of bandwidth, such as iPads and 4G smart phones, didn’t yet exist. Verizon’s Fiber Optic division stopped short of giving a definitive explanation, but indicated the reason could be simply that the existing fiber optic cable run is likely maxed out and doesn’t have the capacity to accommodate any new customers.

            So will Verizon really just sit on its hands and do nothing an wait for D-395 to be completed and then try to use that trunk line for it’s own business?

  4. sierragrl May 28, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    The interesting part will be after construction is complete and Praxis fades off into the woodwork. They are a construction company only and will not be the owner operator. Who will be? Every one who uses the bandwith created by the line. The users will form a co-op who will be the owner operators. No capital replacement fund will exist for any repairs etc. Could go great, could be interesting….I guess time will tell. that is why Praxis has been so big on getting government agencies hooked into their line…gotta have someone with deep pockets.

  5. Ken Warner May 28, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    The California Bandwidth Cooperative (CBC) is the managing entity. It is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That was the source of funding for our Lakes Basin bike path and that’s turned out pretty well.

    If you read the overview:

    “The project’s service area encompasses 36 communities, six Indian reservations, two military bases, 26,000 households and 2,500 businesses. In addition, 35 public safety entities, 47 K-12 schools, 13 libraries, two community colleges, two universities, 15 healthcare facilities and 104 government offices will also be served, as well as the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab, the White Mountain Research Station and the California Institute of Technology Owens Valley Radio Observatory.”

    So I guess those institutions will be the primary clients of the CBC. Verizon and others like Suddenlink can also use bandwidth on the trunk. It looks like smaller cable operators in places like June Lake, Lee Vining, Mono City, Bridgeport, Walker and more remote places will be able to tap bandwidth.

    From the available information and the existence of the Verizon effort, it looks like Mammoth won’t be directly affected. But I’m just guessing.

    • Fed Up May 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

      Mammoth Will get availability from digital 395 , weather or not Verizon will use some of the new bandwidth Suddenlink will be doing so. Last mile providers will not be limited to Verizon. In the Sierras we have , Verizon, suddenlink and Shat for non cellular internet. For other wireless providers such as AT&T, sprint, tmobile there will be additional backhaul for them too.

      I still do not know where Ken Warner hears that Verizon will be installing a new fiber back-haul from Mammoth To Bishop. Please let me know.


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