Hardy’s Youth Board recently received an in-depth look at the equipment that will make Hardy’s television service possible.
At its last regular meeting for the 2011-12 school year, the Youth Advisory Board on April 30 toured Hardy’s South Fork office and learned more about OneNet, Hardy County’s first fiber-to-the-home network that will offer high-definition digital television, much faster Internet speeds and digital voice service. Hardy Telecommunications is in the process of getting final approval for contractors for the first phase of the project.
Hardy Project Engineer Steve Poling and Hardy Video/Internet Technician Philip Miller explained how OneNet’s television will be distributed to customers over an Internet Protocol-based system. Fiber-optic cables will be connected directly to residents’ homes, enabling data transmission speeds that easily can deliver high-definition television, Internet and telephone services over one connection.
Hardy Marketing/Human Resource Director Derek Barr said it’s practically impossible to describe the difference between the capabilities of fiber versus any other technology in the telecommunications industry.
“Fiber doesn’t have the limitations of wireless and copper,” Derek told the students. “Wireless signals can’t come close to carrying the amount of data that fiber can, or at the speeds that fiber can. Copper is limited by range because the speeds fall off dramatically over distance. With fiber-optics, where data is transmitted through electronic pulses of light, you don’t have those problems.”
Hardy is expected to soon install huge satellite dishes in South Fork that will be used to pick up some of the television channel signals, but Derek stressed that OneNet will not be a satellite TV service like DirecTV or Dish Network.
“With those services, you have no physical cable connection to your home, so you’re only picking up the television signal through a small satellite dish on the side of the house,” he said. “Hardy OneNet will transmit the signal to you through a fiber-optic cable that is connected directly to your home, so the quality of the picture is incredible. The size of the satellite dishes that we’ll use to receive some of the channels are much larger than a single-home dish, so you won’t see any of the usual problems like cloudy or stormy weather distorting your picture.”
Hardy still is testing and deciding on exactly what brands of equipment will be used for OneNet, but the students were able to get an idea of how the equipment in Hardy’s office will deliver the data over fiber to a TV set-top box in a customer home.
The fiber network also will allow OneNet to offer a standard Internet connection speed of 5 Mbps, with packages available up to 15 Mbps and 25 Mbps.
“Streaming and downloading video is a much better experience on fiber,” Derek said. “If you’re downloading a 2 GB movie, for example, it will take almost three hours with a 1.5 Mbps connection. At 25 Mbps, that same download is about 10 minutes.”
Hardy formed its Youth Advisory Board in 2007 to educate students about Hardy Telecommunications and the telecommunications industry, and for the students to share their ideas and thoughts about technology important to them. The group is comprised of students from East Hardy and Moorefield high schools.
This year’s Youth Advisory Board members are Parker Baranowski, East Hardy junior; Brooke Shockey, Moorefield junior; Miranda Cook, East Hardy sophomore; Jared Beard, Moorefield sophomore; Brandon Benjamin, East Hardy freshman; and Rebecca Merrill, Moorefield freshman.