Broadband building gets green light

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 6:45pm

“This is huge for the island.”

Sam Bird, the Town of New Shoreham’s Facilities Manager, made that remark after the town was granted unanimous final approval by the Zoning Board for constructing a utility building for the island’s broadband initiative. Town Manager Ed Roberge presented the project to the board, detailing the 230 square foot, almost 10-foot tall utility-only building that will be installed on the northeast corner of the lot where the Police Station resides. The building will house equipment needed to support the island’s broadband network.

“This is the start of the Community Anchor Institution portion of the broadband project,” said Bird, who along with Finance Director Amy Land spoke with The Times after Wednesday’s meeting. Bird and Land said the CAI build would commence in the next few days; fiber will be strung during a three to four week period in November, and the utility building will be delivered at that time as well.

“We’re shooting for having the CAI project completed by the first of the year,” said Bird. “We may not hit it dead on the money, but I think we’ll be close.”

The CAI network involves connecting the Public Safety Building, Town Hall, the Island Free Library, the Medical Center and the Block Island School to the fiber optic strands that are embedded in National Grid’s sea2shore cable. The town is leasing eight fiber optic strands from National Grid for $1 per year for 20 years. Land said the island’s broadband network will utilize four of those fiber optic strands, which will cover the islandwide portion as well.

(See the full story in next week’s edition of The Block Island Times.)