Central Valley Independent Network to begin work on California middle mile project

Central Valley Independent Network (CVIN), a consortium of affiliates of independent telephone companies in central and northern California, will soon begin construction on a new middle mile network that they say will put broadband access into 1,973 communities in California's Central Valley area.

In partnership with the CENIC (The Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California), the network is designed to serve 18 counties between Kern and Yuba, a segment of the state that consists of 39,539 square miles and 4 million people.

Similar to other middle mile initiatives, the initial goals will be to provide fiber connectivity to 19 county offices of education sites, 14 community college sites, 3 state universities, 20 county/main libraries, and seven public safety sites as anchor institutions. This new network will also be connected to CENIC's existing statewide fiber-based backbone and to the Internet.

Three universities in California's university system, including Fresno State, Stanislaus and Bakersfield, will be among the first to be able to take advantage of the new network.

CVIN's hybrid fiber and wireless network will also provide connectivity to other anchor-related entities, including local schools, hospitals, and community organizations in addition to wholesale access to other local ISPs and service providers to extend services to their respective business and consumer customers.  

Up until now, the majority of the areas it is setting out to serve have had little or no broadband access.

"We're going through a lot of rural areas that are underserved or not served at all, and it puts them on the same playing field as a lot of the metropolitan areas," Mike Stewart, director of marketing for CVIN, told The Business Journal.

Time is of the essence to begin construction on the network.

Although CVIN received a $46 million broadband stimulus grant last year--which is being complemented by investments from the California Public Utilities Commission's California Advanced Services Fund, CVIN and CENIC--it only recently completed the environmental review. Set to begin construction on Dec. 9, CVIN needs to complete 70 percent of the project by August 2012 and have all of it completed by August 2013.   

For more:
- The Business Journal has this article

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