PUD agrees to install fiber-optic network | SierraSun.com

PUD agrees to install fiber-optic network

Truckee moved a step closer to gaining an advanced telecommunications infrastructure when the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District approved a $1.3 million fiber-optic cable network project.

At last week’s special board meeting, the TDPUD Board of Directors authorized staff to move ahead with construction and design plans for the project, which is set to break ground in mid-October.

If all plans continue forward, Truckee’s fiber-optic cable network could be up and running by mid-December, according to TDPUD General Manager Peter Holzmeister. He said he hopes the project will go to bid by the end of the month.

The board also approved PUD plans to create the position of Director of Telecommunications Services, which will be filled as soon as possible.

Discussions are under way on funding for the project and Holzmeister said staff is considering how to use some available funds to construct the system. They are hoping to draw from the general funds balances from both electric utilities and water, approximately $650,000 from each side. Holzmeister said the entire $1.3 million cost will be reimbursed with revenues from the fiber-optic system.

Staff members will present a funding plan to the board at its Sept. 15 meeting at 7 p.m. at the PUD office building.

The district has been discussing the design of the project for several months in a joint effort with USA Media, which will lease a portion of the network from the PUD. The two organizations are in the process of drawing up a contract that will give USA Media a fiber lease for their purposes, Holzmeister said.

“We’ve reached an agreement in principal and are still putting together the legal terms,” he said. Holzmeister said USA Media will lease close to half of fibers in the network.

USA Media Regional Manager Roger Terneuzen said he is pleased with the agreement.

“We’re working in concert with (the PUD),” he said. “The majority of the project will be consistent between their needs and our needs.”

He said one major benefit of working with the PUD is that they have committed to completing the network this winter.

“It positions Truckee for the new millennium,” Terneuzen said. “The technology is state of the art and truly does a wonderful thing for the town because it brings more resources to Truckee’s residents.”

The telecommunications plans includes a series of three interlocking rings that make up the fiber-optic network that will connect the Truckee community. One segment would cover the business community along and around Donner Pass Road from Donner Lake to Glenshire, one in Tahoe Donner and one along Highway 89 to the Prosser area.

A fiber-optic network will give people quicker Internet access and more Internet Service Providers to choose from as well as access to many other services and resources from outside of the community, said utility district officials.

The network will also improve the district’s water and electric Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. The two SCADA systems currently use different signals – the water SCADA system uses radio signals and the electric SCADA system uses telephone signals. With fiber-optics, they will both be on a common system and will be able to intercommunicate. The district will be able to save money with these improved communications, Holzmeister said.

USA Media subscribers will benefit from enhanced and more reliable services as well, Terneuzen said.

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