Carver County approves fiber contracts

CARVER COUNTY, MN – On June 21, 2011 the Carver County Board approved construction and materials contracts required to start the construction of the fiber ring for the Carver County Open Fiber Initiative (CCOFI). In addition, County staff recently received the go ahead from the Federal Government on the project’s Environmental Assessment.

We now have all of the tools in place to start construction,” said Administrative Services Division Director Steve Taylor. “The contractor plans to start placing fiber in the ground in six to eight weeks with one of our priorities being the construction of the fiber ring going from Chaska to Cologne where the County’s backup datacenter is located.”

The County Board awarded MP Nexlevel the contract to construct the ring and laterals. In addition, Power & Tel will provide the fiber optic cable and conduit while Jaguar Communications will provide pre-engineering, construction management and fiber splicing and testing. In addition, Jaguar Communications is responsible for the majority of ongoing maintenance costs and managing open interconnect access and support.

The Federal Government has completed the review of the project’s Environmental Assessment. While there are some minor clarifications needed, they have awarded the County with a “Finding of No Significant Impact” which is required for construction to start.

The CCOFI project consists of an 89 mile fiber optic ring that runs through every city in the County along with 33 miles of laterals which connect  86 entities at 56 sites including city, county and township governments, schools, fire departments, public safety towers, law enforcement agencies, community support organizations and healthcare providers.  Additionally, the project provides an open interconnect, which is designed to allow one or more private service providers access to the fiber network so they can provide broadband services to private businesses and residents. Construction is scheduled to be completed in December 2012, with substantial completion in June 2013.

The open interconnect portion of this project will lay the groundwork for additional competition amongst private companies providing internet, phone and cable services in the County,” said Taylor. “In addition, having open access will strengthen broadband accessibility throughout the County for private businesses and residents.”

The CCOFI project had been awarded federal funding of $5,995,600, which covers 80% of the project cost, with the County responsible for a 20% match of $1,498,900 of the overall project budget of $7,494,500. The payback for this project will be approximately five years as the County currently pays about $300,000/year for the use of copper T-1 communication lines.

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