While the federal government's move to tighten its reins on the broadband stimulus work process is necessary to drive out fraud and waste, one unforeseen problem stimulus grant winners are seeing is that their fiber cable suppliers can't keep up, meaning some projects are being delayed.
Case in point is Consolidated Electric Cooperative (CEC). The utility is building out a 200 mile fiber network from the north side of Ohio's Columbus into Richland and Knox counties. But as reported in The Columbus Dispatch, CEC won't get the fiber cable it needs from its supplier Draka Communications until January despite ordering it in June.
Draka Communications admitted that the emergence of broadband stimulus projects drove up demand for fiber by 30 percent in 2011. Due to that demand--which is showing no signs of slowing down in 2012, the company said that buyers should expect a four- to six-month waiting list when they place an order.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said that it has not seen many projects that have been held up by supply shortages. However, a number of grant recipients that did place orders after the initial round of grants has been held up by a short supply of fiber and related network equipment.
For other Ohio-based broadband stimulus recipients like OneCommunity, one of the three participants in the Middle Mile Consortium, the trick appears to be in planning ahead. Brett Lindsey, OneCommunity's chief operating officer, said that it put in its fiber order in February to complete its 900 fiber cable section of the network on time at the end of 2012.
- The Columbus Dispatch has this article
Oregon broadband stimulus project held up by franchise fee fight
Windstream's $38M Fla. broadband stimulus project gets underway
Calix takes Q3 hit from broadband stimulus spending delays
For broadband stimulus winners, time is money as RUS extends deadlines