Fiber Upgrade Coming to Silverlake
Fiber Optic Internet Network Expands in Eagle Mountain to older Silverlake subdivisions
The entire Silverlake network area will become the next Fiberhood in Eagle Mountain, where older copper connections will be upgraded to new Fiber to the Home, bringing 1 Gigabit speeds and more reliable Internet service for residents living in the older Silverlake subdivisions. The fiber construction project will begin in October 2015 and the first customers will begin to be cut over from DSL to Fiber connections in Feb 2016, with project completion projected for the end of Spring 2016.
Tentative Silverlake Project Schedule
While the newer eastern subdivisions in Silverlake, built since Directcom bought the network from Eagle Mountain City in 2006, were all constructed with Fiber to the Home, many of the older neighborhoods on the west side of Silverlake are currently still on copper, and these older neighborhoods will now be upgraded to all-new Fiber directly to the home.
Chuck McCown, Operations Manager of Direct Communications, explained that this project will be somewhat unique in that it will be the first fiber project completed mostly by utility contractors, in order to speed up the upgrade process. ” Our own small crew would have taken at least a year to do the groundwork for the Silverlake upgrade, and we are cutting that down to just 3 months till cutover by using outside contractors. We feel a real urgency to get fiber to as many customers as we can as quickly as we can.
We have selected utility contractor, B Jackson Construction, to do the majority of the groundwork. This will begin in October with crews out proofing the duct, which means testing the duct in the ground to make sure there is a clear path to each home and cleaning out any obstructions. At the same time, these crews will also be installing string to pull fiber through the duct. After the duct is proofed, around the 12th of October, they will start pulling actual fiber through the ducts to the homes. On the 19th they will start splicing the fiber that’s been installed. The process of pulling and splicing will take about 6 weeks. In mid-November we will begin installing all new fiber electronics in the neighborhood nodes, and these will be tested throughout December.”
Directcom’s own techs will be installing Optical Network Terminals on the outside of customers homes. Another contractor, Phelps Electric will be out at the same time installing outdoor power supply on houses to power the fiber electronics on the side of the 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.
Kip Wilson General Manager for Direct Communications in Eagle Mountain said the Silverlake area was chosen as the next upgrade project because of 4 main reasons:
- The subdivision had existing duct already in the ground, which made the capital investment cost requirement for the upgrade lower per sub,
- The vast distance from the central office to Silverlake made the area more difficult to serve satisfactorily with copper,
- 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.”
- The existing copper laid by the original property developers was in dire need of an upgrade, and the old copper was causing problems for both customers and the network techs. “Due to the poor state of the copper, the speeds we offered here were limited, so we really wanted to be able to give our customers here access to higher speeds.
In the older Silverlake homes, the old copper network was direct-buried by the property developers, meaning the copper line to the homes was laid into an open trench and covered up with dirt. However, there was empty conduit also laid at the same time, which was placed for future telecommunications needs, and Direct Communications will now be making use of that duct to upgrade these older neighborhoods to fiber. Inside Plant Manager for Direct Communications, Cody Bailey, who was a field tech in the days of the old Eagle Mountain Telecom, explained that sometime around 2003, once the city-owned telecom knew it was probably going to be sold to a private company, the City of Eagle Mountain changed the construction and development spec to require conduit to be laid in the trench alongside the copper in new subdivisions.
Bailey explained that 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. Most yards do have existing conduit from the old copper pedestals to the home, so crews should be able to pull new fiber through to the side of the house without disturbing the yards or lawns.
Marketing Director Brigham Griffin summed up the feelings of his coworkers by saying: “We are thrilled that we will soon be able to offer premium fiber service to everyone living in Silverlake. We know there are going to be a lot of people really excited about this. Fiber makes a real difference to quality of life for people who use the Internet. People in Silverlake have been looking for Internet service options and have been very vocal about the need for fiber service there, and after years of asking them to be patient with us, someday is finally here. We hope the long time residents will be as vocal now in referring their friends to the new fiber service. It’s a great day to be in Eagle Mountain.”
1 Gigabit speeds will be available to customers in Silverlake with fiber to the home. The company is currently accepting pre-orders for fiber service for residents of Silverlake, which will expedite the upgrade process, because techs will be able to hook up customers who pre-order as they are placing equipment at the home.
Direct communications will be holding an information open house for residents in the Silverlake area by the parking lot of the Silverlake Amphitheater on Thursday, October 1, 2015 from 4 PM till 8 PM. The company will outline the construction schedule and upgrade plan, and answer any questions about how fiber will improve the quality of life for residents of Silverlake in Eagle Mountain.
Network Map of Current Fiber availability in Eagle Mountain Utah
Click on the “view larger map” icon on the top right bar of the network map below, and enter your address in the search field in the google maps interface to see if fiber is already installed at your home or future home.
Yellow areas are Fiber-to-the-home. Blue areas are still copper to the home, and will be upgraded to fiber in the future.