Block Island Times

Broadband facing one delay after another

New Shoreham Finance Director Amy Land gave a cheery update to the New Shoreham Broadband Committee on January 20, but in some ways it was the same story the public has been hearing for months – one of delays that keep pushing the expected completion date for the island-wide broadband project further and further into the future.
In mid-September The Times interviewed Sertex Vice President of Operations Shawn Harmon about what was holding the project up. Then, as now, a major contributor to the holdup is Verizon. Verizon and the Block Island Power Company co-own the utility poles that will also carry the fiber optic lines for broadband. The two utilities have to “make-ready” their areas of each pole necessary for broadband and when the work is complete, issue a licensefor the pole.BIPCo President Jeffery Wright told The Times that the poles need to have enough space so the fiber optic cables will be at least 12 inches above Verizon’s phone cables, and a minimum of 40 inches under the electric wires.Wright estimated that 95 percent of the poles on the island needed licensing, but of those, only half needed actual work to add space for the fiber

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