For some, time is marked by when the Digital 395 project goes into operation. It promises major, expanded and high speed internet service that will impact businesses, government agencies and individuals. According to Michael Ort of Praxis, the company in charge of construction, the project is going in like it should.
Ort said that two different contractors have gone to work on the project. The construction started in Coleville and Bridgeport on the north and Barstow in the south. He said crews will work as long as they can in northern Mono County until weather moves in. Ort said that the crews are also placing cable in the Carson City and Reno areas.
Construction in Inyo County will start later where the weather is not a factor. Work started in Barstow the second week in August. Crews are working toward Kramer Junction.
Ort said, “Our plan is to work our way into Ridgecrest by December.” He said following that, the fiber cable will go along Highway 395 in Inyo County. Ort said work in Inyo should go fairly fast since there are not heavy rocks alongside most of the highway.
Ort called the current construction a “two directional effort.” He repeated that Praxis has the option that if construction is snowed out in Mono, they will concentrate on southern areas.
Does he think they will hit their planned schedule? Ort said, “I’m pretty optimistic.” Digital 395 got the official go-ahead to construct at the end of July. The federal government provided $80 million for the project and the state contributed $20 million. It is scheduled for completion next year.
California Broadband Cooperative will own and operate Digital 395 along with Praxis. CBC CEO Robert Volker said his non-profit organization plans to offer high-speed internet service to 237 critical institutions in the Eastern Sierra including schools, hospitals, libraries, public safety and government buildings. He said once the network is in place next year, consumers and businesses should see immediate benefits through local service providers who will have greater broadband capacity and be able to expand.