Broadband project 2012.09.26

Written by David Green.


Construction continues south and southeast of Clayton in a project that will bring high-speed internet service to unserved households.

Communication Corporation of Michigan (CCM), a subsidiary of TDS Telecommunications, received a Rural Utilities Service grant of $1.2 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, part of an effort to expand broadband service in many areas of the country. TDS will add $400,000 to the project cost for work near Clayton and Augusta, Mich. In total, about 300 households will gain broadband service.

Engineering consultant Jeff Wells said Thursday, the eighth day of the project, that a construction crew first began boring south from the Clayton office toward M-34. A cable-burying plow is used in most areas, while a smaller directional boring machine is used in tough terrain or in areas with other buried utilities.

At this stage of the project, an inner duct was laid nearly four feet underground, along with an orange warning ribbon positioned about a foot above the duct. Later, when all duct work is complete, communications cable—either copper or fiber—will be placed inside.

Last week one crew was making its way north on M-156 from Medina Road—the southern boundary of the project—while another crew worked to the east along M-34. In total, about 7.5 miles of cable will be laid in the Clayton area.

TDS serves residents in Clayton and areas north, west and southwest that already have access to cable television service. Federal grant guidelines prohibit those areas from being part of a federal “stimulus funds” project.

The further a signal travels from its source in the central office, the weaker it becomes. Wells said the project will reduce the effects of the signal drop by including five, small “wire centers” on concrete pads that shorten the length of cable through which the signal passes. The project also includes upgrades to the central office in Clayton.

Some residents along M-34 will have the option for a fiber connection—the fastest speed available—but even those served by a copper wire should see a vast improvement over their existing service, Wells said.

CCM was awarded the funds about two years ago, but completion of the project is a lengthy process due to the many steps involved, including engineering, environmental studies and seeking bids.

The contracting firm—R. Roese Contracting of Kawkawlin—has 45 days to complete its job. Once the connections in the wire centers are complete, the system will be powered up and allowed to "cook" for a while to make sure it’s operating correctly.

“It should be fully functional by the summer of 2013,” Wells said, if not a little earlier.

Wells knows that not everyone supports the federal stimulus projects, but he says TDS believes that developing internet infrastructure is important to the nation and a smart investment. Besides that, it’s funding a lot of jobs that, in turn, spread dollars to local businesses in the area.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016