On Thursday, the Eastern Sierra Connect Regional Broadband Consortium Annual Forum was held in June Lake.
Approximately 50-60 people ranging from Internet providers to Mono County employees attended the day-long event to hear updates on everything broadband.
Praxis President & CEO Michael Ort was one of the morning’s speakers, providing an update on Digital 395, the project that is driving all this broadband talk on the Eastside. Praxis is the project management company for D395.
“We’ve started and we’re going to finish,” Ort said. “A lot of people have been against us and that’s been a great motivator on our part.”
If you’re wondering why all the work seems to be taking place in Mono County right now, it’s because workers are trying to lay the project’s cable in the ground before the real snows of winter hit the Eastern Sierra, Ort said.
“I am hoping for an abundant winter … the day after we get the cables in,” he said.
He went on to explain that the D395 project is broken up into 84 sections, which are then broken up into 10 segments. Archeological permits are determining when each of these segments can break ground.
“Twenty-three different agencies have to review each of the archeological sites,” Ort said. There are about 400 sites.
As segments get released, Praxis can start working in that area. As of Thursday, four segments had been released.
On his list of project milestones, Ort predicted that the project would be completed by July 31, 2013.
“The project is doable and will be done, no matter what people are saying in the bars and coffee shops,” he said.
To follow the progress of the project, you can now log on to www.digital395.com.
Also on the speaker list and tuning in via telephone was Tom Glegola from the California Public Utility Commission who provided an update on the funding available from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to last mile providers. He reminded the last-mile providers in attendance (those who will connect the D395 backbone to peoples’ homes, aka Verizon or Schat.net) that the application deadline for underserved areas, which comprises most of the Eastern Sierra, is Feb. 1, 2013.
He added that grant applications would be weighted most heavily on how many customers would be served by the grantee.
Guidelines for grant applications will be available in December.