County plans fiber optic dedication Sept. 4

Carver County is planning a Light-Up Dedication Ceremony for CarverLink, the new fiber optic broadband system that connects all 11 cities in the County to a high-speed fiber optic network. The event is planned for Sept. 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Waconia High School.
CarverLink is an 89-mile base ring with 33 miles of laterals that connects 55 sites representing 86 community organizations including city, county and township governments, schools, libraries, fire departments, public safety towers, law enforcement agencies, health care and community support organizations.
The project dates back to a late 2008 attempt to connect nine government buildings in Carver County. At that time the Carver County Board of Commissioners authorized spending for the project. As part of a joint public-private partnership, the county and Jaguar Communications submitted an application in 2009 for a first round grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). While the first application did not result in funding, a second grant application in March of 2010, which expanded the proposal to connect 55 organizations, resulted in a $5,995,600 commitment from the federal government. As part of the agreement, Carver County agreed to contribute $1,498,900 in local funds that had already been approved in 2008.
Using cost estimates on leasing private lines to its buildings, the county’s financial payback on owning the ring is five years. The county’s former network used a patchwork of lines from private vendors to connect 18 buildings. The fiber ring allows the County to centralize equipment and operations, eliminate the cost of subscriber T1 services, and reap the benefits of increased levels of service and capacity for growth.
The fiber ring will allow local government organizations to operate more efficiently and at a lower cost. It will be much easier for public entities to share information and electronic communications with each other. This will create opportunities for shared staff, shared data services, and greater overall collaboration between public entities.
The fiber ring is an open network, which means it is designed to have one or more private service providers selling services off of the network. Research shows that it typically takes private services providers between 2-3 years to begin utilizing new infrastructure such as this to provide services out to regions where it was not previously economically viable to service.
Also, Carver County has an initial service provider participating with the project, Jaguar Communications, which is actively pursuing opportunities for connecting various businesses and residential areas in Carver County that they deem business appropriate.
For more information, contact Randy Lehs, Broadband Fiber Project Manager at (952) 361-1494.

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