SOURCE: Axcess Ontario

Axcess Ontario

December 21, 2010 12:58 ET

200-Plus-Mile Ontario County, NY, Fiber Ring Officially Complete

Open Access Fiber Ring Enables County's Economic Growth; Next Major Goal Is Securing a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Service Provider; Fiber Ring Paves Way for Ultrafast Broadband and More

CANANDAIGUA, NY--(Marketwire - December 21, 2010) -  After nearly three years of construction, the 200-plus-mile fiber ring in Ontario County, New York, is now officially complete and fully functional. The board of directors of Axcess Ontario, the public-benefit corporation that oversees the management of the ring, agreed at its board meeting last Friday to publicly announce the completion of the project.

Originally planned to be 180 miles when it was first conceived in 2004, the fiber ring is now more than 200 miles long and runs throughout Ontario County. The fiber ring was also completed under budget and with no federal or state funding. Initial budget expectations were $7.5 million, but the ring's final costs will be more in the $5.5 million range, saving roughly $2 million. A lease agreement with Ontario Telephone Co., an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), was pivotal in allowing the fiber ring to come in under budget. Contractors ECC Technologies and Syracuse Utilities also played major roles in keeping the fiber ring's costs in line.

"Our mission from the outset was to ensure that every community in Ontario County had access to fiber, no matter how remote that community might be, geographically speaking," said Geoff Astles, chairman of Axcess Ontario's board of directors. "We're proud to say that not only have we accomplished that piece, but we've done it under budget."

The fiber ring has been recognized as a national broadband model and is the epitome of 21st century public infrastructure. Like its mid-century counterpart, the interstate highway system, the fiber ring paves the way for economic growth. The ring itself is comprised of dark fiber, provides no services, and therefore does not compete with private-sector telecom and broadband companies. Instead, those companies sign master agreements with Axcess Ontario to use the ring to provide services at competitive rates.

To date, Axcess Ontario has signed master agreements with eight telecom and broadband companies, including Verizon Wireless and national broadband provider tw telecom. Axcess Ontario is in continual discussions with other service providers, and is working aggressively on its next goal of luring a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service provider to Ontario County.

With the fiber ring complete, businesses and municipalities now have access to faster and less expensive broadband, as well as bandwidth equal to global broadband leaders. Businesses can gain access to the ring simply by contacting any of the eight service providers that work with Axcess Ontario.

Residents do not yet have access to faster and less expensive broadband, but they will once a FTTH service provider is secured. Axcess Ontario has been working to lure a FTTH provider for more than a year, including submitting an application on behalf of Ontario County, NY, to Google's "Fiber for Communities" ultrafast broadband project earlier this year. More than 1,100 communities nationwide responded to that project, and Google just announced last week that it was postponing its selection of winning communities to early 2011.

"The concept of 'fiber to the home' is the ultimate game-changer," said Axcess Ontario CEO Ed Hemminger. "Once residents have fiber to the home, everything changes. Someone who wants to work from home or start a home-based business can do so with ease. Not only will they have instant access to the online global marketplace, but they'll also have confidence that their home-based Internet connection will be as fast, as reliable and as competitively priced as any office-based system. Imagine conducting videoconferences on your iPad with business partners halfway across the world, all from your living room or your back deck."

The Ontario County fiber ring is a nationally recognized broadband model. Harvard University's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government this fall recognized the fiber ring as a "Bright Idea" -- a promising, innovative solution that can assist other communities as they face their own challenges. And earlier this year, county officials met with the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., to educate FCC officials about the fiber ring and how it can be implemented elsewhere in the country.

About Axcess Ontario.
Imagine where fiber technology can take us. Axcess Ontario has. With an open-access, dark-fiber infrastructure and a non-profit approach -- serving as an example for a national model -- the 200-plus-mile fiber ring has Ontario County on the fast track to greater economic development, better quality of life, and global competitiveness. By providing this critical source for advanced connectivity and increased flexibility through quicker, more affordable broadband, businesses and organizations, as well as residents, will have improved capabilities like never before. For more information, please contact Axcess Ontario CEO Ed Hemminger at ed.hemminger@co.ontario.ny.us or 585-261-4502.

Contact Information

  • For more information contact:
    Megan Connor Murphy
    Dixon Schwabl
    585-899-3258 office
    585-339-8379 cell
    Email Contact
    Twitter: @mconnormurphy