Work Begins on CBN Connect Broadband Network
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (July 23, 2008) - The Technical Assistance Center at SUNY Plattsburgh announced today that implementation of the first phase of CBN Connect, an open-access broadband fiber and wireless network has begun. This network will provide broadband service to areas in the North Country that are currently without service and that would be likely remain unserved because of the low profitability of laying the necessary cable.
Following a competitive bidding process, the Research Foundation of SUNY, on behalf of CBN Connect, has hired Adesta LLC, a company that is also currently working on Northlink, a dark fiber open access network based out of St. Albans, Vt. Adesta will handle the detailed engineering design of the first phase of the project.
Using a previously funded conceptual design as guidance, Adesta's work will include final route selection recommendations based on several engineering criteria.
"We had a general idea of where we wanted our core ring to go, but we need to know the best route, based on the location of existing poles and dark fiber lease options, as well as the cost of using those poles," said Julie West, project coordinator for CBN Connect, which is managed by the Technical Assistance Center in conjunction with the SUNY Research Foundation.
The fiber optic cable will run aerially along existing utility and telecommunications poles, as much as possible. This is a more cost effective way to run fiber than having to bury it. However, the more each pole is already being used for phone, electricity and other utilities, the more the cost is likely to be, according to West. As a result, Adesta will look for less congested routes.
"Adesta will also look at our designs and make recommendations about where we should put equipment along the route and how the fiber will go into those locations," said West. "And they will work with us to support discussions with potential partners whose facilities we might share for housing our equipment."
Furthermore, Adesta will help prepare for the permitting process and make recommendations on going to bid for the electronics and the construction necessary to set up the network. This work will be paid for through grants from the federal Economic Development Agency and the New York State Empire State Development Corporation.
The fiber optic ring that CBN Connect is building will first connect to members of the Adirondack Champlain Telemedicine Information Network. This consortium is a group of non-profit and rural hospitals, clinics and public colleges which will be connected to each other and to Internet2, the next generation of the global computer network, through the robust fiber optic network.
This connection will provide patients in local areas with access to critically needed medical specialists. In some instances, they will not have to leave their homes or communities to receive these medical services.
Intensive care doctors and nurses can monitor critically ill patients around the clock, and video conferencing will allow specialists and mental health professionals to care for patients in various rural locations, often hundred of miles away. Nursing students at local colleges will also be able to interact with health care specialists through real time, full video connections between classroom and medical center.
Subsequently, others will be able to utilize the network. For instance, Internet service providers will be able to lease bandwidth and offer high-speed Internet service in areas that they otherwise would not be able to reach. CBN Connect will not be a service provider but rather will be a wholesale transport option that providers of services use to expand their reach. Encouraging business discussions have been held with virtually all current communications service providers in the region.
"It is exciting to see engineering begin on the CBN Connect Optic Fiber project. The completed system will dramatically improve telecommunications options for medicine, education, business and consumers in the three counties," said Andy Abdallah, former Town of Plattsburgh superintendent. Abdallah is currently the chair of the CBN Connect Advisory Board, whose members include fiber optic co-inventor Peter Schultz.
Advisory Board Vice Chair Jody Olcott spoke of the benefits to Essex County as seen by the Essex County Industrial Development Agency.
"The Essex County IDA is eager to begin this project which has been in development for nearly 10 years. The opportunities this project will bring to our area are tremendous, allowing Essex County businesses and residents the same, if not better, communication infrastructure as the rest of the country," said Olcott. "The county understands that in today's market it is vital to provide businesses the necessary infrastructure to be able to operate efficiently and competitively. The Essex County IDA has been fortunate to utilize the resources available through the Technical Assistance Center at SUNY Plattsburgh and the SUNY Research Foundation to coordinate this project and assist in securing the funding to make this project a reality."