The pending fiber optic project by Mediacom to connect Inyokern to Onyx is one step closer to realization as the California Public Utilities Commission announced the release of the Draft Initial Study and Negative Declaration. Mediacom intends to install fiber optic cable to bring high-speed broadband to the Kern River Valley along Highway 178.
The long-awaited fiber optic cable project that will provide high-speed broadband infrastructure to the Kern River Valley may be moving forward with the preparation and release of the draft environmental document. The project was pending due to reasons of environmental impacts.
The Commission will use the Draft Study and the Negative Declaration to ensure that the proposed Mediacom project avoids or reduces any environmental impacts associated with the project. The Initial Study analyzes potential environmental impacts of the proposed project.The document is out for public review and comment for a 30-day period, which ends on Feb. 6.
Mediacom’s proposed project includes installation of fiber optic cable for approximately 52 kilometers from its current Ridgecrest system connection in Inyokern to a connection location in Onyx. The fiber optic project is planned to deliver high-speed broadband services to the schools and government offices. The fiber will also enable up-gradation and expansion of broadband capacity in the areas of the Kern River Valley that are currently unserved.
The draft Initial Study and report was a hurdle in bringing broadband infrastructure to the Kern Valley. Unfortunately the draft itself took ten years to complete.
The draft proposes installation of armored loose-tube fiber optic cables. Armored fiber optic cables are easily available and can be sourced easily. The United States is home to many prominent fiber optic cable makers such as Corning, AFL, OFS (Furukawa), Belden (Corning) etc.
Armored fiber optic cables would be installed underground with a plowing or directional boring process in the road right-of-way, or within the area adjacent to State Routes 178 and 14. Wherever the underground installation is not possible, the draft proposes for aerial deployment. The proposed route includes some use of existing utility poles owned by SCE and new Mediacom-owned poles to allow for aerial installation rather than in-ground construction. The trench depth is more than 1 meter.
We hope there won’t be any more delays to the project.
You may be interested to read about Armoring of Fiber Optic Cables