What is Digital 395?
Digital 395 is the name of a fiber optic project that will bring affordable broadband to the Eastern Sierra region of California and Nevada.
What will Digital 395 do for the Eastern Sierra?
Digital 395 will provide a continuous fiber optic connection between Carson City and Barstow. This link will improve the dependability of telecommunications in the region and bring affordable and higher speed broadband to the area, thus improving public safety, education and other services.
What telecommunications products will Digital 395 support?
Digital 395 will support telephone, video and high-speed internet. It will also support service providers who seek “dark fiber” to complete their network needs.
How will this benefit residents and businesses in the region?
Apart from bringing high-speed Internet to schools, libraries, hospitals, fire, police and other key institutions in the area, high-speed bandwidth will be available to service providers who, in turn, will be required to pass savings and higher speeds on to end-users.
These advantages will also benefit seven Native American Tribes, including Benton Paiute Tribe, Big Pine Band of Owens Valley-Owens Valley Paiute, Bishop Paiute Tribe, Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone, Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, Fort Independence Indian Reservation, and Bridgeport Paiute Tribe.
How do I buy service from Digital 395 when it is ready for service?
Consumers and businesses will continue to purchase their broadband services from their current service providers, or select one of the newer service providers that will be initiating service. If you represent an institution such as a school, library or hospital, our project team will be contacting you.
When will it be completed?
Digital 395 is expected to be completed and in service by the end of July 2013.
Who is paying for Digital 395?
The project is being funded by various sources. Approximately 80 to 90 percent is to be funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), sometimes referred to as the “Recovery Act.” Approximately $7.2 billion has been set aside by ARRA for rural broadband. In addition to federal funding, from 10 to 20 percent is being funded by a California Public Utilities Commission broadband development program called the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), which has been accumulated from telephone bill surcharges over the past several years. In addition to this, the counties of Kern, Inyo and Mono may contribute in-kind resources, when they are identified and approved by the board of supervisors in each county.
Who will own and operate it?
Assets of Digital 395 will be owned and operated by a new company created solely for this purpose. It is called the California Broadband Cooperative, which is a not-for-profit entity. As a telephone cooperative, meaning there will be formal state oversight of its operations.
Who is going to construct Digital 395?
Praxis Associates, Inc., a recognized fiber optic development firm, is the company that has prepared the grant application and will be leading the design, management and construction of the project.
Will there be jobs for locals on the project?
Definitely – job creation was one of the main purposes of Digital 395. Praxis intends to bring its experienced team to the project, but hopes to create most of the jobs from the local labor force. The project will also make use of local contractors who are experienced in a number of areas, mostly trenching and excavation.
What jobs will be available and how does one apply?
The type of jobs will be listed on this website as the project evolves. While most of the jobs will involve the construction of telecommunications networks, trenching, excavation, and paving, there will also be some work involving site preparation, electricians, traffic controllers, civil engineers, inspectors and office work.
Will these be government or private sector jobs?
These will all be private sector jobs that are project specific, meaning that they are for the duration of the project.
Will there be job training on this project?
Yes, there will be training, as needed to fill the positions. We are also working in conjunction with other tribal programs, CIMC-Bishop office and Bishop Paiute Tribe’s TERO and TANF programs, Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California’s Native TANF program.
What is the tenure of the jobs? How long will they last?
The jobs will last no longer than the duration of the project, as the tasks are performed.
Why is the project important to the Eastern Sierra region?
This project will bring a whole new infrastructure to the region so that companies can flourish and be better integrated with the general economy. It will enable computer applications to be introduced to schools, hospitals and public safety agencies, thereby reducing costs, increasing services, and reducing travel to those seeking services. The project will enable the local economy to diversify, while keeping the educational institutions and medical care in the region at par with the rest of the state.
What broadband speeds will be available?
Initial service on the backbone is 10 gbps and will grow as needed. We expect end-user services to be between 1.5 mbps to 100 mbps, and the cost of service to be equal or cheaper than that in metropolitan areas.