KINGFISHER, OK-MARCH 21, 2018-At their March 2017 board meeting, the Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc. Board of Trustees awarded the construction contract for the Frederick exchange for the federally funded A-CAM (Alternative Connect America Fund Model) program. The A-CAM program will provide Pioneer over $180 million over ten years to build fiber optic networks to unserved and underserved locations in Pioneer’s 75 exchanges.
The contract was awarded to Push Incorporated for $943,748.00 to build 69.75 miles of fiber optic facilities to serve the A-CAM designated locations in the Frederick exchange. The contract is broken down into two zones, A and B. Each zone will be closed separately so subscribers can enjoy the enhanced services provided by fiber optics sooner. Construction is expected to start in early April 2018. In addition, the Pioneer board also approved a separate contract for the fiber splicing. Pomeroy Services won the contract worth $53,047.50.
A-CAM is an FCC program that is funded by the Universal Service Fund established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The A-CAM program provides funding for locations where current facilities are not capable of providing 10 Mbps downstream speed and 1 Mbps upstream speed to the Internet. The A-CAM program uses a forward-looking cost model to predict the cost to provide qualifying Internet speeds to each location. Those locations with monthly costs below $52.50 are not eligible for A-CAM funding. Locations with modelled costs above $52.50 and below $124.57 are fully funded by A-CAM and are required to be served with at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream service. Funding for locations with modelled costs over $124.57 will be capped at the $124.57 mark. Pioneer will be required to provide 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream service to 25% of these capped locations.
In total, Pioneer will be required to serve 13,372 locations with at least 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up service and 1,395 locations with 4 Mbps down/ 1 Mbps up service over a ten-year period. Since Pioneer is building fiber optic facilities to provide qualifying service to the unserved and underserved locations, Internet plans up to 1 Gbps will be available.
In addition to the A-CAM funded fiber optic construction, Pioneer plans to invest an additional $8 million of general funds in 2018 to build fiber optic facilities in areas that are not funded by A-CAM. These areas already have qualifying Internet service but lack the speeds and user experience that fiber optic facilities provide.
A link labeled “Fiber” can be found on Pioneer’s website (www.GoPioneer.com) where customers can register their interest in fiber. Customers register by entering their physical address and answering a few questions concerning the services that are of interest. A message and confirmation email will be sent notifying customers of the fiber plans for their area. Those interested may also call 888.782.2667 for more information.