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Telecom set to install Pensylvania fiber optic cable network

By Donna Donowitz
January 4, 2011
Quanta Services recently announced that it was awarded a contract to design and install a fiber optic network in Pennsylvania. A coalition of colleges, universities and organizations awarded the contract, which was valued at approximately $118.5 million. The coalition is called the Keystone Initiative for Network-Based Education and Research.

“KINBER is very happy to embark on this historic public-private partnership with telecommunications companies with the reputation and expertise of Sunesys and Blair Park, which are backed by the resources of Quanta Services," said KINBER executive director Jeff Reel. "We feel the breadth of the companies' capabilities and experience in Pennsylvania will help KINBER successfully deliver on the promise to advance education, healthcare, research and workforce training and development across the state through the Pennsylvania Research and Education Network."

Quanta subsidiaries Sunesys and Blair Park will build the fiber optic cable network. The network will connect Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities to national research institutions and networks with a 10 gigabit Ethernet service. KINBER will coordinate the construction and management of the project, which received $99.6 million in funds from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"The vision shared by KINBER and Quanta is to provide a broadly accessible, reliable statewide education network," said John Colson, chairman and CEO of Quanta Services. "Our vast experience in construction, telecommunications technology and network deployment for education makes us uniquely capable of providing this solution for the region."

Sunesys and Blair Park are both based in Warrington, Pennsylvania, which means the project will employ workers within the state. The project recently began its engineering, design and pre-construction phases. It is expected to be complete by January 2013. Quanta will provide approximately $24 million in matching funds during the two-year period to support project infrastructure. In exchange for the investment, Sunesys will receive right-of-way access on the network.

The project is the sixth largest broadband stimulus project in the United States. It will span 1,600 miles across 39 counties, 22 of which are listed as unserved or underserved in regards to their access to broadband services.

Another, larger fiber optic cable project is under development in West Virginia, where the government has allocated $126 million to fund a 2,400 mile network.


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