A broadband stimulus project that will cover nearly one quarter of the state of California is scheduled to break ground on December 9, reports The Business Journal, a local media outlet.

The fiber network, to be constructed by the Central Valley Independent Network, received a $46.6 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration over a year ago. But according to The Business Journal, the network operator only recently completed all environmental requirements.

According to an NTIA project summary, CVIN was founded in 1995 and is an eight-member consortium of local and regional service providers. CVIN and its project partner, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) will contribute about 20% toward total project costs, with the NTIA covering 70% and the California Public Utilities Commission Advanced Services Fund covering the remaining 10%, The Business Journal reports.

When completed, the CVIN network will have a 1,371-mile fiber backbone through 18 Central Valley counties, the NTIA project summary states. The network will include 720 newly constructed fiber miles and 164 miles of leased dark fiber. At least sixty-three community anchor institutions—including public safety entities, libraries, schools and colleges–have committed to use the network, and an additional 6,000 such organizations also could be served.

The network also is planned to bring 10 Gbps service for the 350 existing cell towers in the proposed service area and to include 12 new wireless nodes to deploy WiMAX last-mile service to rural portions of Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern Counties.

The CVIN will have to work quickly to meet project deadlines, which require that the network be completed by August 2013, with at least 70% completed by August 2012, The Business Journal reports.

As Telecompetitor has previously reported, many stimulus projects have been slow to get off the ground for a variety of reasons. Meeting environmental requirements, which appears to have held up the CVIN project, is one key concern. Ironically, concerns about meeting deadlines also have caused some stimulus winners to drag their feet on completing the paperwork to receive funding, thereby exacerbating those deadline concerns.

The Rural Utilities Service, which also made broadband stimulus awards, was able to extend the deadlines for its broadband stimulus projects. But according to the RUS, the NTIA did not have that option because of the way the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which created the broadband stimulus program, was written.


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