The Digital 395 Broadband Project took another major step forward on Monday, when the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the lead federal environmental agency, issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) under the National Environmental Policy Act, checking off one of the key steps for the 583-mile long fiber project up and down U.S. 395.
The NTIA permit complements a major California permit issued by the California Public Utility Commission’s (CPUC) last November, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Together, the permits allow many local agencies, such as the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, Caltrans and the Nevada Department of Transportation, to proceed with their steps to issue permits for their lands. All permits must be in accordance with each other so that they can be consistently managed by the project.
“The project is closer to a reality as a result of this permit,” said Robert Volker, CEO of California Broadband Cooperative (CBC), the company who was awarded grants from the CPUC and NTIA, “and it looks like broadband and more jobs will be coming soon for the Eastern Sierra.”
Michael Ort, CEO for Praxis Associates, the company responsible for Digital 395’s execution, said, “Our team and vendors have been anxiously awaiting this news. Our materials are on hand, our equipment is ready, and we want to get at it. The local residents have seen our engineers and huge reels of cable rolling along U.S. 395, now they are going to be seeing folks back to work, putting it in the ground.” The project, slated for completion next summer, could conceivably break ground sometime within the next 30 days. –Press Release