May 30th 2017- The Process and Terminology
With over 70 contractors, plus our own staff, we have so many balls in the air and so much new terminology that we find it difficult to share our progress with you.
Step 1—The Design
We have contracted with a firm to design each Phase of our project before we start construction. Design starts with one or more circuits out of a substation (each electric substation has several circuits leading out in different directions to supply all the members in the area). This involves measuring clearance above ground and the distance between poles and then reviewing potential paths to connect the fiber from the mainline to the side of the house, determining where terminal boxes should be located; noting trees that need to be cleared or poles that need to be upgraded and much more. When the design is completed, we will know how much staff time we need to allocate to make our system ready to accommodate the fiber line and what materials are needed to build the fiber in a given area.
Step 2—Make Ready
Upon completion of the design, our MVEC Operations Department will begin tree cutting and clearing, pole replacement and other electric grid improvements to accommodate the new fiber line.
Step 3—Mainline Construction
This is the time-consuming process to bring fiber from pole to pole. Think of this as a highway where each fiber line connects to the network just like a street connects to a highway to take you wherever you need to go. During this step we also need to mark the location of underground lines to help us avoid them during construction.
Step 3---Fiber Drops
When the mainline fiber is completed on a circuit, a new team of contractors will begin extending fiber from the mainline to individual homes or businesses. We refer to this as a ‘drop’. During this step, MVEC staff will contact you to discuss the location of the connection to your home. They will also inquire about any underground facilities you personally own that may be in the path of this proposed drop. We want to avoid things like underground pet fences. Do not cancel your current internet service at this point.
This is the final step in the process where in-home networking equipment is installed. MVEC staff will schedule time with you when a technician can run the fiber from the outside drop inside to your computer. They will then switch internet services from your current connection to the new network, and ensure it is running smoothly with the new higher speed service. At this point you can cancel your former internet service.
Numbers Continue Climbing
May 16, 2017- Our Smart Grid fiber project continues to progress as scheduled. Additional contractor crews are moving in soon and progress will ramp up significantly over the summer months. Check out these statistics that are increasing daily:
- 2201 interested members
- 486 members have signed installation agreements
- 180 miles of fiber consructed
- 78 drops awaiting home installation
- 70+ contractors working in the field
- 30 home installations completed
- 5 new employees hired
- 3 substations now sending smart grid data back to the Cooperative via fiber
Interested? Scroll back to the top and sign up your interest!
April 28, 2017- Hey members, check out these speeds we are seeing during home installations! Those using our whole house GigaCenter WiFi are seeing these speeds on all devices. If you haven’t yet visited our website at mvlink.coop now is the time. Let us know you are interested in experiencing these unprecedented speed.
April 13, 2017-In April, 2016, the Board of Directors approved moving forward with the design and installation of a Smart Grid fiber communications network.
356 days later we connected our first substation to the fiber network and are now bringing Smart Grid substation and metering information back to the office via the new fiber network.
360 days later we connected our first MVlink member with high speed internet services.
As the network continues to expand we will now be moving forward with additional internet connections to members while also increasing the amount of Smart Grid data points that use the fiber network as a communication path.
Interest in MVlink offerings continues to be strong across our entire service area.
Phase 2 Update
March 29, 2017—Our fiber build out starts with design where contractors collect data along electric feeders out of our substations. Design contractors will leave a door hanger behind to let you know we have been in the area and to encourage you to sign up your interest so we can stay in touch going forward.
In order to reach our projections of 500 miles of fiber per year, the design work must be completed significantly ahead of actual construction. During the fall and winter months, we pushed very hard on the design side and as a result we have preliminary plans in place for the majority of Phase II in anticipation of construction beginning in late May or early June. The majority of the construction for this phase will start at the Anamosa area service point and work our way out, just as we are doing in the Peosta area. Bids for Phase II construction contractor and materials are due this week and will be evaluated over the coming weeks. Final network design is in progress in the Stone City, Thunder Hills and Table Mound substation areas.
We are remaining consistent with our original design and construction plan and continue to work as fast as we can to meet the demand from each of you for the speeds you need.
Phase One Construction Update
March 29, 2017--- As we enter spring, fiber project activities are really picking up! Mainline construction has passed the 100 mile mark, which means Phase I is more than one-third completed. Mainline construction is very close to being completed in three service areas and is ongoing in three additional service areas, all in northwestern Dubuque County. Crews have recently started working in the Sherrill substation area.
Spring weather also allowed underground crews to start back up and work is now being done in subdivisions near Graf.
In the past two months we have met with the over 250 members that have already signed up to plan the location of drops to connect the mainline to their homes. Our drop contractors recently started installing drops to homes in the first three service areas.
Additionally we have been testing service offerings at four test locations and the network has been performing well.
We plan to start making additional home installations and activating services very soon.