INYO COUNTY VOWS SUPPORT
continued from previous page
After 10 years of running full speed headfirst into brick walls, finally Darwin garners some outside help!
On Feb 19, 2010, unofficial representatives of the unofficial Bring Broadband to Darwin (BBD) ad hoc committee met with Brandon Shults, IT Director for Inyo County, who pledged support for getting broadband for Darwin.
The aid offer coincides with a large project to redo fiber-optic lines up Owens Valley (Digital 395) . When finished, fiber-optic lines would be 38–40 miles from Darwin, but the county thinks that they can help by teaming Darwin's need with the Owens Valley project.
But there always seems to be a catch 22: If Verizon does offer Darwin DSL, then Digital Last Mile grant funds cannot be used to help Darwin obtain broadband because of grant stipulations.
Money wouldn't be available from the Digital 395/Last Mile grant(s) for at least two years, if the money comes through at all. The California Broadband Coop (Praxis) is administering the grant, which is mostly federal stimulus money with a small portion of matching funds provided by the California Public Utilities Commission.
No plans to lease T1
BBD representatives stressed that there are no plans to have a public or private entity lease a T1 line and distribute it in Darwin. Administration, billing, hardware acquisition, funding and other organizational and implementation facets would be a nightmare, judging by past town-wide efforts. This leaves Verizon as the main choice to activate the T1 option and provide DSL for Darwin. Inyo County previously thought that Darwin was shooting for a non-Verizon solution. One county source at the meeting shared that the county also has had problems historically in many dealings with Verizon, especially with upgrades.
Other possible ways to disseminate broadband were discussed, including approaching another Internet Service Provider (ISP). Although the main private local Owens Valley ISP opposed the Digital 395 project, that ISP could possibly disseminate DSL in Darwin from a leased T1 line, either with hard wire, fiber optics or a wireless solution. This local ISP originally proposed a wireless Owens Valley solution instead of the fiber-optic corridor now being constructed.
Inyo County pledged that they would:
1. Verify that T1 service is available through Verizon.
2. Notify California Broadband Coop of the “Broadband for Darwin” website.
3. Contact Verizon directly to see if they will offer DSL to Darwin.
4. Approach other area ISPs (if Verizon absolutely will not install DSL) to see if they would be interested in leasing a T1 line; installing a remote mini DSLAM switch; and supplying DSL to Darwin.
Stay tuned and see if the universe indeed smiles on Darwin, and the town finally gets broadband. Although BBD committee is hopeful, recent talks with Verizon ended in more double-talk and the usual mantra about installing broadband in Darwin: We can't; we won't; we don't know how.