The primary goal of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is to provide a fiscal boost to the Nation during this economic crisis and to lay the foundation for long-term growth and development of our economy. One of the pillars of the ARRA is that providing access to broadband services will increase economic development and improve the quality of life for all Americans. The ARRA provides $7.2 billion dollars of stimulus funds to increase broadband network access, particularly in rural and underserved and unserved areas.
CENIC (The Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California), together with its private sector partner CVIN (The Central Valley Independent Network, LLC), have put together a project plan designed to improve the availability of broadband networking infrastructure for 18 counties within the California Central Valley area. These counties are:
Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Fresno, Kings, Kern, Mariposa, Merced, Madera, Nevada, Placer, Tuolumne, Tulare, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sutter and Yuba
An application, the Central Valley Next Generation Broadband Infrastructure Project, was submitted to the NTIA (The National Telecommunications and Information Administration) on March 26 for ARRA stimulus funds to launch this project.
We believe the implementation of this robust network infrastructure can dramatically change the ways citizens in these 18 counties learn, work and live together. The funding of the application will also, in the short term, create jobs associated with network deployment and contribute to economic growth in the longer term.
The Project encompasses a service area of 18 counties covering 39,530 square miles, 24 percent of the state’s geography, and a population of 4,077,365 million, or over 11 percent of the state’s population.
The project would reach over 1,973 communities within the proposed service area, most of which currently have access only to limited network speeds. The proposed service area includes the following counties:
Colusa El Dorado
The goals of the Project are:
- Immediately connect via fiber 19 county offices of education sites, 14 community college sites, 3 CSU universities, 20 county/main libraries, and 7 public safety sites as anchor institutions to this new network infrastructure that will connect to CENIC’s existing statewide fiber-based backbone and beyond to the worldwide Internet;
- Expand CVIN’s fiber-based infrastructure and wireless capabilities to facilitate the ability of the other anchor-related institutions in the community including school sites, healthcare facilities, and community-based organizations, to enhance their existing high speed networking capability;
- Enable CVIN and other providers to use the new network infrastructure to facilitate businesses, residences and government agencies to have access to high speed networking capacity;
- CVIN forge strategic relationships with existing local internet providers enabling them to connect their business and resident customers to Internet services at more reasonable costs, one of the largest broadband adoption obstacles faced by most rural or underserved communities; and,
- Enhance the ability to reach the economic development goals of the 18 counties by having the required network capacity available for new businesses that might locate in these counties.
The cost of implementing this Project is estimated at $66.6 million. 70 percent of the costs have been requested from the NTIA, 10 percent from the CPUC CASF Fund, and the remaining matching amount will come from the partners.
The first component involves building, operating, and maintaining fiber infrastructure that will traverse 1371 miles of rural Central Valley.
The CVIN/CENIC project will provide new fiber-based infrastructure of 1371 route miles involving: 720 miles of new construction; 128 miles of new fiber in CVIN affiliated company conduits; 36 miles of CVIN affiliated company existing fiber; use of 302.4 miles of existing CENIC fiber; and use of 184.55 miles of an existing lit CVIN affiliated company fiber ring. New optical equipment will be deployed on 1186.4 miles. This infrastructure will be linked to the existing CENIC statewide backbone, providing the users in the 18 counties access to robust capacity and services.
This proposed design entails installing 72 strands of single mode zero waterpeak fiber to a series of robust middle mile loops interconnecting the CVIN affiliated companies and CENIC’s existing backbone in the Central Valley. Where new construction is used, two conduits with microducts will be employed to provide for capacity and technology upgrades. Interconnection points will be provided at 40-50 mile intervals along the routes allowing for services to be extended to anchor institutions (County Offices of Education, Community Colleges, California State Universities, Libraries, and Hospitals) as well as future customers, ISPs, WISPs, etc. CENIC will contribute a pair of existing unlit fibers and associated colocation on a diverse 302 route mile path between Stockton and Bakersfield and CVIN affiliated companies will make available both conduit and fiber to complement and provide a diverse and robust middle mile infrastructure.
The technology proposed for this application is state of the art, utilizing dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) to expand the bandwidth capacity of the fiber network. The network topology is fully upgradable and expandable to adopt new technological improvements as they become available. Current deliverable network speeds are 1GE to 10GE, upgradable to 40GE service drops in the near future and 100GE service drops on the technical horizon. The proposed equipment is manufactured and marketed by a large, industry leading broadband equipment company with significant name recognition.
Fiber network equipment upgrades will be accomplished by card addition and replacement, with shelf addition anticipated to meet capacity requirements. Cabinets and huts are sized to accommodate multiple shelf additions. Fiber backbone connection assures that the wireless broadband facilities are future-upgradable to capture technical improvements in the industry and to leverage the current WiMAX/LTE technology competition.
Centralized network management facilities will be located in both the CENIC and CVIN Network Operations Centers and will be capable of jointly or individually managing facilities across the entire network should either facility become unavailable due to unanticipated disasters.
New facilities constructed in this proposal will be interconnected at speeds ranging from 1GE to 10GE, sized appropriately for the specific entity, to CENIC’s CalREN network at seven locations between Bakersfield in the south and Colusa in the north. Up to fifty cabinet/hut locations are proposed to serve the anchor institutions, WiMAX towers and future customers.
The second component of the plan involves CVIN deploying last-mile wireless capabilities over parts of four counties.
Fixed WiMAX wireless access is proposed for the last mile service areas in Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties, delivering 180Mbps of capacity from up to twelve tower locations to fully encompass the unserved/underserved areas. Towers will be served by fiber 1GE backhaul to the backbone middle-mile proposed in this project.
The third component of the plan involves this CENIC-CVIN partnership entering into strategic relationships with other projects that may be awarded grants through the BTOP and BIP programs to implement complementary last mile infrastructure in sub regions of this Central Valley Next Generation Broadband Infrastructure Project.
The Central Valley Next Generation Broadband Infrastructure Project is a middle mile infrastructure project that will interconnect 18 counties and link them to CENIC’s robust statewide backbone and to the worldwide Internet. Of the Comprehensive Community Infrastructure (CCI) applications submitted to the NTIA, four could complement our project if they are funded; but our project is not dependent on any of them.
The four CCI projects focus on providing wireless infrastructure in specific counties: #4464 (Amador, Alpine, Calaveras and Tuolumne), #6145 (Nevada), #6078 (San Joaquin), and #7160 (Mother Lode). If funded, each could provide connectivity between individual schools, health care facilities, businesses, and residences in these counties and our middle mile infrastructure.
The fourth component of the plan involves CVIN entering into strategic relationships with incumbent local/regional commercial telecommunications companies and Internet Service Providers/Wireless Internet Service Providers, ISPs/WISPs, who will use the new wireless infrastructure and the new fiber network infrastructure to extend high-speed broadband services in two ways.
First, they will use this infrastructure to provision connections to other tenants such as local schools, branch libraries, and health care entities. Second, CVIN and its participants will utilize this new network infrastructure to connect business and residential customers and goverment agencies to a major commercial ISP infrastructure in Sacramento or Los Angeles at various network speeds over the existing CENIC backbone. CENIC’s working relationships with worldwide Tier 1 commercial providers will enable CVIN and its local commercial provider participants to connect with the Internet Protocol (IP) services, metro and long haul transport, content and video delivery and data/voice services of these Tier 1 providers.
The fifth component of the plan involves working with organizations that are focused on providing programs that advance the adoption of the use of broadband capabilities by all Californians, especially those in the Central Valley counties.
There are three Sustainable Broadband Adoption (SBA) and Public Computer Center (PCC) projects that could complement our project. California Connects (#6303) will develop an open-source online digital literacy training tool that can be utilized at public libraries and other computing centers across the state with specific focus in the Central Valley region, targeting and providing learning support to low income, Latino residents . populations that currently have low adoption rates within the state; California Telehealth Network (CTN) eHealth Broadband Adoption (#4871) will support sustainability of California’s FCC-funded CTN, enable wide spread use of broadband applications by delivering multi-faceted training in partnership with libraries, community colleges, and health organizations, and establish best practice Model eHealth Communities to demonstrate how to transition to technology-enabled health delivery; and, Free2 Connect 4 Success (#4387) will expand the public library computer access centers in 136 libraries statewide by providing much needed desktop workstations and laptops, 24/7 wireless access, new or upgraded wireless routers, and staff to help users access library resources.
If funded, these projects will provide individuals, especially new Internet adopters the programming, hardware and training to effectively utilize the infrastructure we will install. This will also help personnel in the various anchor institutions including health-care facilities, public libraries and schools that will be utilizing our infrastructure.
The sixth component of the plan will involve CVIN, over time and as demand grows, extending its existing last mile fiber-based and wireless infrastructures to serve businesses and residents in these 18 counties.