Corning Helps Build a Middle-Mile Network Through Its Home Town

  • Corning
  • Fiber Cable
CORNING, NY - A $12.2 million project to deploy a 235-mile optical fiber ring across three counties in western New York was announced by the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board (STC). The network will support ultra-high-speed broadband connectivity across the region. Construction is expected to begin in June 2011 and will take approximately 30 months to complete.

After the STC tried and failed to obtain funding from the NTIA's broadband stimulus program and after Google's Fiber for Communities project was put on hold, the STC found another partner - Corning Inc., a manufacturer of fiber optic cable that is located in the Southern Tier region.

STC executive director Marcia Weber says, “An open-access, optical fiber telecommunications infrastructure will put Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties on the fast track to greater economic development, better quality of life and global competitiveness.”

The network will connect public safety towers and 911 centers, will connect to other regional open-access networks and will also allow local service providers to enhance their broadband offerings and even extend their service to underserved areas.

A new not-for-profit local development corporation – Southern Tier Network Inc. (STN) – will own, build and manage the network. STN's board of directors includes representatives from the three counties and other community stakeholders.
“The Southern Tier Network board believes that this network will be a catalyst for future economic development within the region, and that it will drive new and improved capabilities, including 4G wireless and fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-premises services,” says Weber.

STN will supply access rather than Internet connectivity. It will lease network capacity to telecommunications carriers, governments, educational institutions, health care organizations and businesses. The business plan mirrors the successful, nationally recognized model in Ontario County, N.Y., which was facilitated by ECC Technologies Inc., STC’s technical advisor in the Southern Tier Network initiative.

“One of the strengths of the Ontario County model is that it creates partnerships with existing telecommunications service providers leveraging their existing investments in communities,” says ECC President Joe Starks. “Our work in Ontario County has laid the groundwork for seamless, mutually beneficial relations with regional carriers that will enhance the Southern Tier project.”

Counties and Corning Fund the Project
The project has received funding commitments from four sources: Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties have committed a total of $2.2 million and in exchange will be able to use the new network for public safety and interoffice communications. Corrning Incorporated will provide approximately $10 million to fund the capital needed to build the network, which will use Corning fiber and cables.

“Over the years, Corning Incorporated has contributed to many projects that have created economic diversity in our community. This contribution to the region’s telecommunications infrastructure, along with the support of our local governments, represents the kind of public-private partnership that is essential to expand regional economic development. The region’s telecommunication services must be competitive and robust for all segments of our economy to thrive,” says Kirk P. Gregg, executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Corning.

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