St Charles Fiber to the Home
Fiber Optic Internet Network Expands in Bear Lake to St Charles
The small town of St Charles, situated at the north shore of Bear Lake, will become the next town in Idaho to get Fiber to the Home. Local broadband provider, Direct Communications, will be replacing older copper communications lines with all newFiber to the Home, bringing 1 Gigabit Internet speeds and luxury Internet service for all residents living in the city limits. The fiber expansion will also reach some homes along fiber branch lines that extend outside city limits, including some subdivisions along the Minnetonka Cave Road . New fiber will also be installed to homes south down the state highway to about 1/2 mile outside of St Charles city limits. This new fiber construction project will begin in June 2016 and the first customers will begin to be cut over from DSL to Fiber connections in August 2016. All homes in St Charles currently on copper should be completely cut over to 100% fiber to the home by the end of 2016. This project will bring fiber to the home service to about 140 more homes in the Bear Lake area.
Tentative St Charles Project Schedule
|Project Name||St Charles|
|Contractor Bids In||May-2016|
Current customers do not need to pre-register for service–they will be automatically upgraded for free when fiber to the home is ready.
Direct Communications is currently waiting for some state highway permits, and finalizing choosing a contractor for the main construction work. The company prefers to work with local businesses and contractors. For example, much of the duct material used in this project will be coming from local southeast Idaho manufacturer, Plastic Industries. Any local contractors still interested in being involved in the project should contact Directcom engineering manager, Matt Farr.
Contractors will be doing the main construction work along roads and city grids, burying the conduit that will protect the fiber optic cable. However, Directcom crews will be doing the final drops across customers yards. The final fiber splice to the home and cutover to fiber at the home will be completed by Directcom’s own techs, who will be installing Optical Network Terminals on the outside, or sometimes, depending on the situation, the inside, of customers homes. Since fiber does not carry an electrical signal like copper, each fiber terminal needs a power supply to power the electronics which convert the digital laser light to an Ethernet signal inside the home.
Farr estimates the total cost for the fiber construction project will be around $400,000. However, the company will also have to invest significant capital into electronic equipment upgrades in the central office and remote cabinets to support the fiber network. Also, each customer will receive new fiber electronics on the outside of their home, which will replace the old copper network box, which Direct Communications will supply for free to the customer. The fiber electronics often represent a very expensive part of any fiber project.
This St Charles construction project is part of a greater push by Directcom to speed up the process of converting older copper neighborhoods to fiber. During 2015, the company completed a multi-year fiber to the home project in Rockland Idaho, and is currently working on installing fiber to several other subdivisions in the Bear Lake area.
Jeremy Smith, Manager for Direct Communications, said that although he understands everyone wants to be the next town to be upgraded, areas are chosen and prioritized carefully as upgrade projects for various reasons such as:
- Willingness of city officials to work with us on a utility project. The city of St Charles was particularly helpful in providing information on public easements, and giving us permits and easy access to public right of way on city streets.
- Natural progression of where the existing fiber network is easily expanded
- The condition of legacy copper laid by the original phone company decades ago. Much of the original copper was in dire need of an upgrade, and where the old copper is causing the most problems for both customers and the network techs, the company will often seek to upgrade those areas to fiber first.
- Higher number of potential customers: “We look at population density, and where we can provide the greatest benefit to the most people with the limited funding that we have available to us each year.”
Generally, yards and gardens will not be disturbed, except where existing telephone pedestals are located at the corner of property lots– these pedestals will be replaced with handholes, which will be buried and placed level to the ground, which the company hoped would be welcomed by homeowners, since having no visible equipment would enhance curb appeal of the neighborhood. We will use a maxisneaker or small DitchWitch drop plow to cut a line through lawn and drop in the conduit, with minimize impact on yards or lawns.
The fiber project won’t be disturbing any existing pavement or concrete–the company will bore under any existing paving with a directional drill. There also shouldn’t be any major traffic disruption–Direct Communications will be working with the state on the highway construction portion.
Matt Farr, Engineering Manager for Direct Communications, explained that for this St Charles project, much of the work will be done by utility contractors in order to speed up the upgrade process. Please be patient with us as we roll out this plan to bring you better broadband service. In the meantime, go ahead and pre-register for fiber optic service so that we know you want it at your home.
Fiber is the future of communications, and the key to future economic growth, education, entertainment, and access to a world of opportunities in our new information economy. Fiber to your home will improve your life even if you don’t use the Internet, because fiber optic cable to a home will instantly increase the value of your home. St Charles will soon have the most advanced modern communications network available anywhere in America. Most residents in big cities, even in the most expensive neighborhoods in the USA, do not yet have access to fiber optic cable, but soon St Charles residents will join the 6% of Americans with access to this fantastic service.
Directcom Fiber will bring residents connection speeds 50 times faster than what is currently available in rural St Charles. Work from home, start an online business, enjoy instant downloads, immediate uploads, and faster streaming HD video like Netflix SuperHD . Fiber is more than just Internet. It’s endless possibilities.
Directcom Fiber Construction Plan
Phase 1: Bury main conduit 48” deep along the city streets.
Phase 2: Place all the fiber hand holds (manholes where all the fiber will converge for each neighborhood.)
Phase 3: Plow in individual conduit drops to each home as ordered. (½” plastic conduit into a thin trench, about 18” deep.
Phase 4: Blow fiber optic cable through the underground plastic conduit.
Phase 5: Splice final fiber cable drop going to each home back into the main cables.
Phase 6: Install new fiber electronics at central switch to feed homes.
Phase 7: Mount new fiber ONT (optic network terminal) on the outside of each home.
Phase 8: Make final connection from your computer or router to your new fiber line via ONT. This ONT will convert the digital light signals sent over the fiber, into an Ethernet signal which can be read by home computers.