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Maine to expand fiber optic network

By Max Burkhalter
December 9, 2010
The Maine Fiber Company recently selected NextGen Telecom Services Group as its main network infrastructure provider. The company, which is unaffiliated with any telecommunications carrier, has plans to build a 1,100-mile, high-capacity fiber optic cable network. The company was selected by Maine Fiber Company’s nine-member advisory board.

The network, which is being built as part of the Three Ring Binder project, would stretch across 100 communities in Maine and provide fiber optic, broadband service to 110,000 households, 600 schools and libraries and 38 government buildings.

The project received a $25.4 million federal funding grant from the U.S. Department of commerce in 2009. Maine Fiber Company has also been working extensively with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to help ensure that the project moves quickly and efficiently.

“In a full and open competitive bidding process, nextGen stood alone in terms of delivering the most cost-effective and comprehensive services combined with the facilities, workforce and a project manager all based in Maine to not only build the network, but also ensure it is maintained going forward,” said Joshua Broder, general manager of Maine Fiber.

“More importantly, nextGen brings deep experience in Maine to the project in terms of building fiber optic networks for service providers, wind farms, smart grids, businesses and other customers - particularly in rural areas.”

NextGen will provide maintenance and restoration for the Three Ring Binder project. The company has already begun working on the project and will complete construction within two years.

Rural development of fiber optic networks has become a significant area of focus for telecom companies. Several other states have similar projects aimed at bringing fiber optic, broadband service to rural locations.

Recently, telecom company Merit announced its plans to develop an advanced fiber optic network in rural, low-income communities in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The cable is being provided by CommScope.

"The fiber delivery is done via CommScope's own fleet of delivery vehicles that are equipped with off-loading hoists," said Robert Duncan, Merit's director of infrastructure architecture and strategy. "This means Merit will not have the need for shipping and receiving docks or forklifts to accept the delivery of the fiber. It makes things easier and more cost-effective."

The project will feature 1,017 miles of open-access fiber optic cable.


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