V.I. pushes deadline for company to complete local fiber-optic cable network back 5 months
Published: September 13, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - The installation of fiber-optic cable in the territory has not been as high-speed as the project coordinators had hoped.
The deadline for the V.I. Next Generation Network to complete its construction of a broadband network in the territory has been pushed to Dec. 31, giving the public corporation an extra five months to complete its efforts.
The installed cable will be part of a middle-mile network, or one that connects a pre-existing core network to a more localized area.
"The territory has had connectivity for years. It's just not been connected," said Larry Kupfer, CEO of the Next Generation Network.
The foundational network was put into place in the 1990s by larger telecommunication corporations, Kupfer said, in the form of submarine fiber-optic cable that connects North America to South America but does not connect the zone in between.
V.I. Next Generation Network intends to do just that with the $117 million network, funded by four federal grants and local matching monies. The bulk of the funding is for the payment of about 40 contracted firms and vendors executing the construction of the network.
The priority is to first provide improved service to what the corporation refers to as anchor institutions, or organizations with instrumental roles in the community, such as government offices, school facilities and emergency services hubs.
Another priority is to open the Next Generation Network's community computer centers, all of which are free to use and open to the public.
On St. Thomas, 12 already are open, with another five in waiting; on St. Croix, 12 are open, with two more in waiting; and on St. John, two are waiting to open their doors, according to the network's website.
All of the network's efforts were supposed to be completed by July 31, at which point it was slated to lose any remaining funding that it had not already used.
However, the Next Generation Network was able to bump up the deadline as the work was taking longer than expected, namely because of technical issues, Kupfer said. The extension carries no additional cost, according to Kupfer.
In addition to finishing its list of community computer centers, the corporation is working on finishing the construction of 24 fiber-access points throughout the territory. They are small buildings from which network crews can conduct maintenance on the subterranean cables.
The network is expected to provide bandwidth to various local retail Internet service providers. It already has negotiated service contracts with several providers, according to Kupfer, and it is still negotiating with others.
Kupfer declined to say what the expected revenue would be for the V.I. Next Generation Network in its first year.
The network was established in 2010 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the V.I. Public Finance Authority, according to the network's website, www.vingn.org.
It was funded primarily by a grant from the National Telecommunications Information Administration as part of a federal program to improve the broadband capacity in the United States, its territories, and Washington, D.C.
For more information about the network, visit the website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email email@example.com.