Hardy Telecommunications has named two contractors for the construction of a fiber-optic network ring that will connect vital institutions throughout Hardy County.
The company also announced that construction on the project, dubbed Hardy AnchorRing, will begin on Monday, September 26, 2011, and will continue throughout the winter as weather permits. The ring will reach government buildings, medical offices, educational facilities, emergency response departments and other anchor institutions.
ER Excavating & Utilities, LLC, and Gudenkauf Corporation will each be building one half of the project, said Hardy Telecommunications Marketing and Human Resource Director Derek Barr. Construction for the project was designed in four phases, and each contractor will do the work for two of the phases.
Both companies will be operating under the direction of Byers Engineering, an Atlanta-based consulting firm hired by Hardy to oversee the fiber projects. Byers has been instrumental throughout the entire process of designing the fiber networks and securing federal funding, Derek said. Byers has opened a local office at 500 Spring St. in Moorefield for the duration of the projects, which in total are expected to take about three years.
ER Excavating is a Moorefield-based company that frequently does work for Hardy Telecommunications. Gudenkauf is based in Columbus, Ohio, and is a diversified telecommunications and utility contractor. Derek said both organizations would be urged to hire local personnel whenever possible.
“We want these projects to provide as many local jobs and stimulate the local economy as much as possible,” he said.
The fiber network ring is the first step in a three-year process that ultimately will bring fiber-optic connections directly to residents’ homes in Hardy County. A fiber-to-the-home network will enable Hardy Telecommunications to offer high-definition digital television, faster Internet speeds and digital voice services.
Derek stressed that the fiber network ring connecting the county’s anchor institutions is an entire project in itself and is not designed to build fiber out to individual resident homes. ER Excavating and Gudenkauf were named for the AnchorRing project only. Hardy Telecommunications has not started the bid process for the construction of the Hardy OneNet network, Barr said. That process will be announced at a later date.
Hardy AnchorRing will bring a 117-mile fiber-optic infrastructure ring to Hardy County that connects emergency agencies, government offices, libraries, educational facilities, and other institutions deemed vital to the community.
Hardy AnchorRing must be completed first, and then Hardy OneNet will extend the fiber-optic connections to individual premises. In the telecommunications industry, AnchorRing is called a “middle-mile” project while OneNet is a “last-mile” project, Derek said.
AnchorRing is being funded by the federal National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The program awarded Hardy Telecommunication a $3.2 million grant in combination with an $814,000 cash contribution from Hardy.
Although the two networks will be connected, Hardy OneNet is a $31.6 million project being financed with an award from the federal Rural Utilities Service Broadband Initiatives Program. Hardy received a $22.15 million grant and $9.49 million loan from that program to build the county’s first fiber-to-the-home network.
Fiber-optic technology is unique because it can carry massive amounts of information, called bandwidth, over long distances without degradation. This information is transmitted by electronically-created pulses of light. The capabilities of fiber-optics far exceed those of wireless, copper, or any other telecommunications technology currently available.
Derek said Hardy plans to provide updates on the projects on this website. The company currently is working on its channel lineups and OneNet packages and hopes to have those completed early next year.