Spiral’s Gigabit Fiber Optic Project On Target

There is a lot that goes on in the background before one starts to build something as massive as a new state-of-the-art all-underground 100% fiber optic internet network. Especially one that will maintain its “state-of-the-art” status for 50 to 100 years. And put western Nevada County on the national “A” list of communities having gigabit internet connections.

Our environmental report for the 26-square mile first phase project, was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission’s five Commissioners on May 11 of this year. This enabled us to move forward with our network design, and then county permitting. We are working with CalTrans along the Hwy 174 corridor, as they will be constructing a curve realignment along a small portion of that road in 2019. They have assured us that this future work will not delay our project at all. We are collaborating closely with Siteline Architecture, as they design and then oversee the build out for the interior of our new office space in the Nevada City Tech Center. 

We recently hired Malvina Hansen Zeischegg as our new Marketing Coordinator. She is working closely with Nick Katzman, our Neighborhood Coordinator, to make sure that every household and business in the first phase of our project (Service Area A) signs up for service. If you have any questions about our project, or future phases, just call and ask for one of them. Remember, you can sign up or “map yourself” for future phases by going to our fiber website.

We have been actively working with our Assemblymember Brian Dahle so that AB1665, which provides for $330M in continued funding of the California Advanced Services Fund (the source of our $16.2M grant), is fair and available in our rural areas. Let’s just say that the incumbent telephone and cable companies lobbyists are hard at work making sure they have no competition from independent gigabit fiber optic internet network providers like Spiral.

We are also very busy gathering data to disprove that Comcast actually serves an area which originally was part of our first phase. In a last minute power grab, that cable company claimed service in an area that has at maximum 30% coverage. No surprise, they lied. Now we have the facts to prove it. And are working hard to get it back. We will.

We are also about to start work on our new website. Yes, we’re embarrassed by our 10-year old dinosaur. And we know you’ll be impressed by our new 21st century “look” coming later this year.

Of course, the question we are asked over and over is “when do you start construction?” It is a bit of a moving target. Late summer seems realistic. However, this will be the place where we’ll announce when we hit the ground running, so to speak.

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95959google Happened Seven Years Ago Today

In early 2010, Google announced that it was going to pick one city and build a gigabit fiber optic internet network there. Google had no idea that it would spark a pent-up demand for better and reliable internet service across the country. The telcos (AT&T, Verizon) and cable companies (Comcast, Time Warner) were monopolies that couldn’t care less about what was truly needed. (And still don’t.) Over 1,100 municipalities applied to Google’s Fiber for Communities initiative. It took Google by surprise.

Spiral Internet jumped in from the start, walking across the street to City Hall on the day of that announcement to meet with then Nevada City City Manager, Gene Albaugh. We asked if we could apply on behalf of Nevada City. His response was a resounding, “Yes!”

The event, and then video that were produced for that initiative, let us know that Nevada County wanted much faster internet.  The promotion that came out of 95959google was outstanding. You can take a short trip back in time to remember what happened as a result of 95959google.com  At Spiral, we knew Google would never pick us, but we also knew that we could build our own (and actually as it is turning out) better network.

Last month, Alphabet (Google’s new parent company) announced that it was putting a pause on deploying new fiber optic networks. Susan Crawford (author of “Captive Audience” and one of our heroes) today posted “Google Fiber Was Doomed From the Start” — an article on BackChannel that provides some good insight into why Google Fiber was going to sputter and die. Definitely worth reading.

We know that it is expensive and time-consuming to build new fiber optic networks. It takes insight and fortitude to make it happen and go the course. We also know that the communities that go forward with these builds will prosper in ways that we can, now, only imagine. Large telcos, cable companies and corporations that are accustomed to astronomical profits year after year, cannot see the benefit of investing in long-term sustainable projects. But smaller regionally-based ISPs and municipalities do see that value. 

Once Spiral breaks ground later this year — and residences and businesses begin to have access to unlimited symmetrical gigabit internet access — we will see that magic begin to transpire. In hindsight, we’re glad Google didn’t pick Nevada County. And that we did.

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Spiral’s Gigabit Service Sign-ups Begin

Starting today, you can now sign up and make a deposit for Spiral’s gigabit 100% fiber optic internet network service if you are located in our “Service Area A” (first phase that was funded). We changed to new crowd sourcing software (COS Service Zones from Sweden), so you will also be able to “map yourself” for future phases in western Nevada County. We plan to break ground and start construction in late spring / early summer. Happy New Year! http://www.spiral.com/signup

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