Google isn’t the only technology vendor deploying broadband in its own backyard. Fiber manufacturer Corning is also getting into the act. They plan to foot the majority of the deployment cost for a 235-mile fiber optic ring in western New York.
But while Google was the instigator of the high-speed network the company is deploying at Stanford University, Corning was not the instigator of the New York project. Instead, the project has been spearheaded by the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board (STC), which was unsuccessful last year in a bid to obtain broadband stimulus funding from the NTIA. The STC also applied for funding from Google’s Fiber Project, but opted to pursue Corning when Google put plans for the fiber project on hold late last year.
A new not-for-profit local development corporation called Southern Tier Network will own, build and manage the New York network. Corning will contribute $10 million toward the $12.2 million project, with the three local counties footing the rest of the bill. As part of the deal, the counties will be able to use the network for public safety and interoffice communications. The network will connect public safety towers and 911 centers and will use an open access approach that allows other network operators to lease connectivity on the network.
“An open access, optical fiber telecommunications infrastructure will put Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties on the fast track to greater economic development, better quality of life and global competitiveness,” STC Executive Director Marcia Weber says in a post by Broadband Properties. Weber added that the network could be a “catalyst” for 4G wireless and fiber-to-the-home or fiber-to-the-premises deployments.
Unlike Google, which is building the Stanford network to learn more about high-speed broadband applications, Corning did not describe the project as a technology test bed. Not surprisingly, however, the network will use Corning fiber and cables. Construction is expected to begin in June 2011 and take 30 months to complete.
Not every remote or semi-remote area has a high-tech company at its back door. But it seems like the STN funding model is one that might work in other communities that are home to large high-tech companies.