RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (Nov. 3, 2011) – MCNC, the private, not-for-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), announced today that World Fiber Technologies, Inc. has been awarded a $2.1 million contract to attach conduit and fiber-optic cable along five bridges in Northeastern North Carolina as part of NCREN’s expansion through the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI).
This historic $144 million project for North Carolina is funded through the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) in addition to several private grants and investments including $24 million from the Golden LEAF Foundation and $8 million through the MCNC Endowment.
This portion of the project is designated for bridges in Northeast North Carolina to include: Virginia Dare Bridge (U.S. 64 Bypass over Croatan Sound); U.S. 17 over Chowan River; U.S. 94 over Intracoastal Waterway; Washington Baum Bridge (U.S. 64 Bypass over Roanoke Sound); and the Wright Memorial Bridge (U.S. 158 over Currituck Sound). MCNC has successfully applied for encroachment permits from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to allow for the installation on all five bridges included on the route.
“World Fiber Technologies has a highly-specialized team who are prepared and ready to work on a very complex and critical component of this project to expand the availability of broadband connectivity to schools, higher education institutions, libraries, non-profit hospitals, and other community anchor institutions in Northeastern North Carolina," said Tommy Jacobson, vice president of network initiatives for MCNC and project lead on the GLRBI. “In addition, a portion of the fiber installed can be used by private-sector providers and public/private partnerships to reach underserved citizens and businesses with more affordable broadband service.”
Northeast Rural Broadband (NERB), for example, currently is working with rural communities in the region to ensure they are able to deploy “last mile” broadband coverage. Specifically, NERB is working with GLRBI fiber marketing partner ECC Technologies to identify an initial sub-section of counties in the northeast who will be among the first to receive specialized planning assistance on broadband deployment strategies.
“World Fiber Technologies has a highly-specialized team who are prepared and ready to work on a very complex and critical component of this project to expand the availability of broadband connectivity to schools, higher education institutions, libraries, non-profit hospitals, and other community anchor institutions in Northeastern North Carolina."
-- Tommy Jacobson, MCNC Vice President, Network initiatives
World Fiber Technologies, Inc., of Alpharetta, Ga., has used North Carolina manufacturers to purchase 383 miles of fiber-optic cable, hired 11 North Carolina companies as subcontractors, and employed 39 full-time North Carolina residents and 26 part-time N.C. police officers. World Fiber’s most recent, ongoing projects in the state include traffic signal upgrades and expansion for the City of Raleigh and two NCDOT projects in Asheville and Wake County.
World Fiber President and CEO Mark Battle is a North Carolina native committed to creating jobs in underserved rural areas and to make every effort to hire local workers and subcontractors as well as procure materials from North Carolina vendors and manufacturers to support the state’s job growth and stimulate the economy. He also noted the complexity and critical nature of the GLRBI and is proud to be a part of connecting these communities.
"This type of investment in technology is an integral part of the state’s development as it will be the backbone of the educational, social and economic engine for future generations,” said Battle. “We also look forward to working with the other firms to make this project a reality for the citizens of Northeastern North Carolina.”
World Fiber Technologies was selected through a competitive bid process that began on Aug. 19. Bids closed on Sept. 23. The Request For Proposals and other relevant information is available at www.mcnc.org/btop. World Fiber joins the following firms working on the second phase of the GLRBI: CommScope, ECC Technologies, Edwards Telecommunications, Fiber Technologies, Globe Communications, and Kimley-Horn and Associates.
Installation will begin immediately, with work scheduled to be completed by mid-April 2012 to minimize impact on bridges during the height of tourist season. All construction for both rounds of the GLRBI must be finished by Jan. 31, 2013 to allow MCNC time to equip and place the fiber optic into service on or before July 31, 2013. The first phase of construction for Round 1 is nearly complete, and Round 2 construction began in July 2011.
About Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative MCNC currently is working on a $144 million expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) scheduled to be completed by 2013. This initiative has been labeled the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative.
To fund this expansion, MCNC applied for and received two U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) awards totaling $104 million. In addition, MCNC raised $40 million in private matching funds as required by the BTOP program. MCNC’s sources of matching funds included $24 million from the Golden LEAF Foundation, $8 million from the MCNC Endowment, $4 million from private-sector wholesale telecommunications company FRC, and an estimated $4 million through donations of land and existing conduit from individual community colleges, universities, and others including the Albemarle Pamlico Economic Development Corporation. No direct funding from the State of North Carolina was required. MCNC estimates the expansion of NCREN will create or save 2,500 engineering, construction, and manufacturing jobs in the state.
Both MCNC awards are part of a coordinated strategy developed by the Office of North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, the N.C. Office of Economic Recovery & Investment, and e-NC Authority to improve broadband access for businesses and residents in underserved areas. Once all work is complete, the two rounds of BTOP infrastructure have the potential to serve directly, or through MCNC partnerships with private-sector service providers, more than 1,500 community anchor institutions, 180,000 businesses, and reach more than 300,000 underserved families.
MCNC/BTOP Central Webspace For more information regarding all of MCNC’s BTOP activities, visit MCNC’s BTOP Central Web Space online. You also can follow the progress of the GLRBI at www.twitter.com/GLRBI or www.facebook.com/GLRBI. Questions? Please see our FAQ section regarding Round 2 construction questions, or contact us for more details.
About The Golden LEAF Foundation The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,129 grants worth over $517 million since its inception. To learn more about applying for a grant, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call (888) 684.8404.
About World Fiber Technologies, Inc. World Fiber Technologies, Inc. is a premiere turn-key construction company, providing engineering design, construction and maintenance services for fiber optic and wireless communications, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), traffic signalization, fiber optic bridge attachments, and broadband telecommunications solutions.
We have earned a reputation for providing quality turn-key operations throughout the US, and we have the experience, expertise, personnel and company-owned equipment to self-perform our work. We strive to complete projects safely, efficiently, on-time, on-budget and to our clients' satisfaction.
World Fiber's Bridge Division is dedicated to providing the most reliable, cost effective solutions for each fiber optic bridge project. Almost every World Fiber project includes bridge work either as a stand-alone project or in combination with our other core services. We believe each bridge is unique with its own community purpose and characteristics. During our bridge project investigation phase, we assess the bridge components alongside the client’s specific needs. We begin with the basic fiber optic cable theory: fiber uses light to transfer data/video from one place to another (across a bridge). Data is converted to light, sent through an optical fiber and conveyed to its intended end user. The question then becomes, how does this fiber optic cable become part of a bridge as a cost effective method of data transfer? Our answer is custom fiber optic bridge attachments based on experience and proven technology. World Fiber’s bridge solutions have been implemented across the US, connecting community networks and making fiber optic infrastructures on bridges affordable and cost effective.