World Fiber completes bridge work for Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative

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Successful installation of fiber on bridges in northeast NC marks major milestone in phase 2 of project

Editorial Contacts: MCNC Communications Hotline: (919) 248.4105 or Leslie Hurst, World Fiber Technologies, Inc. (678) 990.6708 or Noel Preston, Northeast Rural Broadband:

KITTY HAWK, N.C. (May 15, 2011) – Northeast Rural Broadband (NERB), World Fiber Technologies, Inc., and MCNC, today announced that conduit and fiber-optic installation on five bridges in northeast North Carolina as part of the second phase of the $144 million Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI) is complete.

World Fiber bridge construction for GLRBIThe statewide expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) is being built by MCNC, a Research Triangle Park non-profit organization that operates the network.

After a competitive bid process that began last August, World Fiber Technologies, Inc. (World Fiber) of Alpharetta, Ga., was awarded a $2.1 million contract in November 2011 to attach conduit and install fiber-optic cable within the conduit along the 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 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. Extensive daily coordination with NCDOT related to lane closures and management of traffic was a key component to completing the project in the short timeframe before peak tourist season on the Outer Banks.

“The impact of the MCNC projects on the future of rural North Carolina will be significant, particularly in eastern North Carolina where this infrastructure is sorely needed. This fiber will mean better access to education, more efficient and effective health care and economic opportunity for our citizens,” commented Gene Conti, North Carolina Secretary of Transportation.

Using fiber manufactured by CommScope in Hickory, N.C., World Fiber placed 12 miles of 288-strand fiber-optic cable along the five bridges. The bridge hanger support materials were custom manufactured in the United States to ensure proper fit. This also was an opportunity for World Fiber to follow the “Buy American Clause” stimulating the economy through local material procurement and production.

“It’s vitally important to World Fiber to promote economic growth while also connecting rural communities with state of the art fiber-optic cable that makes the transfer of Internet, video, voice, and data communication less expensive and more reliable,” said World Fiber President and CEO Mark Battle. “It was a true honor to have been selected for this crucial project and a pleasure to work closely with the NCDOT and MCNC to further expand the GLRBI.”

The first phase of the GLRBI was complete on April 27 and included 904 total miles, of which 414 was new construction in western and southeastern North Carolina. Round 2 encompasses 1,700 miles overall, of which 1,338 miles is new construction. In eastern North Carolina, the fiber loop will run from Roanoke Rapids east to Dare County and then back to Rocky Mount. Initially, the fiber will link area schools, colleges, libraries, and other community anchor institutions in facilitating improved Internet access and more capacity for online learning. A portion of the fiber will be available for use by local service providers to improve connectivity in the area.

Northeast Rural Broadband is working with GLRBI fiber marketing partner ECC Technologies and stakeholders in each county of the region to use the new capacity to expand access for unserved and underserved households and to maximize the economic development potential of the fiber loop.

“Improving internet access for the education, health care, and other community anchor institutions served by NCREN is our main goal with the project,” said MCNC President and CEO Joe Freddoso. “We also are working with local leaders like Northeast Rural Broadband and for-profit broadband service providers to extend robust broadband access to areas of the state lacking the broadband infrastructure to scale to their future needs.”

“This is an opportunity for northeast North Carolina to make an economic and social jump forward,” added Paul Tine, board member of Northeast Rural Broadband.

Installation was completed quickly to minimize impact on bridges during the height of tourist season on the Outer Banks. The next step in the project will be to link the bridge installations with the fiber installed underground.

The entire GLRBI project is on track to be completed by first quarter of 2013 and operational by summer 2013.

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.

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 a 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.

Field Photography & Multimedia Photos of this work are available upon request. Please email to request a photo and specify what resolution you will need. All photos should be attributed and credited: Photo Courtesy of MCNC.