I hear about from constituents ….
I hear about from constituents is the need for improved high-speed internet access. The lack of reliable highspeed internet access hurts economic growth, limits educational opportunities, and diminishes the quality of life. A few years ago, I was at the county board meeting when this idea was first discussed and I am pleased to see it moving forward to the point of actually putting fiber in the ground. I would like to commend the members of the Taylor County broadband committee for their outstanding work on this project. I feel that this effort in Taylor County could be a model for other rural counties in our state for improving broadband access in their area and am proud to represent a county that is leading the way in improving rural broadband,” Edming said.
The WANRack network will span the county’s 984 square miles to connect sites – such as courthouses, town and city halls, the public works and sheriff’s departments – with high-speed broadband service. In addition, Internet and wireless service providers will be able to affordably lease any portion of the new fiber in order to provide new high-speed consumer service options to residents.
“Taylor County leadership has been extremely savvy in pursuing this county-wide broadband initiative, and we are seeing great interest from Internet and wireless carriers to leverage the county’s investment,” said Rob Oyler, WANRack Founder and CEO. “This critical infrastructure project will ensure unlimited bandwidth for county needs, while enabling carriers to offer new services to satisfy consumer demand. It’s a win-win that every county should explore.” WANRack is currently operating in 24 states. The company’s robust fiber-optic networks traverse the nation, from Florida to Washington state, and Arizona to Connecticut. The WANRack executive management team has constructed and delivered more than 200 fiber-optic WANs since 2005.
According to Sean Brown, vice president of operation and construction for WANRack, the installation of the buried fiber optic cable will involve multiple crews working at the same time around the county in order to achieve the aggressive timeline. One of the factors that WANRack representatives say will help “future proof” the project is that they will be installing cable with 432 fibers, three times as many fibers as other vendors offered. In addition, the company plans to install a large number of handhole points which will allow for future build out. These will be done every 750 feet in rural areas and every 500 feet in urban areas. This is especially useful for servicing cellphone towers to build out 5G networks. A side benefit would be the improvement of cellphone services in rural portions of the county as more towers are built.
Total construction costs are estimated to be $8,092,286 which includes the fiber optic cables and electronics to connect the network.
The contract with WANRack is fixed for maintenance cost at $149,976 per year for the 74.6 miles of line. The maintenance contract is renewable every five years with the ability of it to go down as other parties are added to the network and generate additional revenues. Under the agreement WANRack is responsible for all breaks and issues involving relocation of the fiber.
WANRack will connect businesses interested in being on the network that are within 500 feet of the network for free if they connect at the time of construction.
In addition to this project, the county is also looking to add 23.78 additional miles of fiber to connect additional towers in the county. Bub said the county has applied for $580,000 to fund the additional fiber for those towers and was optimistic about the county’s chances.
WANRack will also be contacting residents and businesses during the construction phase about bundled services and fiber to the home. Brigman said the capacity of the cable will also open the door to other vendors to provide localized services bringing additional competition for prices and services to the region. Bub noted competition will be good for the consumers.