AUGUST 12, 2020-The Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc. Board of Trustees recently awarded a contract for the construction of new fiber-optic cable facilities located within the rural surrounding areas of Seiling, Chester and Mutual, Oklahoma. Cable construction is expected to start in August of this year with an expected completion date in April of 2022.
The fiber cable construction contract was awarded to Excel Utilities of St. James, Missouri. Construction will consist of 261 miles of new buried fiber-optic cable facilities to serve more than 462 designated locations, in the rural areas surrounding the three communities. Total project costs, including material and fiber splicing costs, amount to over $6.5 million dollars.
The build-out of new, buried, fiber-optic cable facilities in the rural areas located within the Seiling, Chester and Mutual, Oklahoma telephone exchanges, is part of Pioneer Telephone’s on-going commitment and buildout plan as developed under the Federal Communications Commission, Alternative Connect America Fund Model, or A-CAM plan. Under the A-CAM plan, Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, Inc., will receive approximately $280 Million over twelve years to expand and build-out fiber optic facilities to tens of thousands of rural residents and businesses located throughout Pioneer’s 30 county landline service area in Northwest, Central and Southwest Oklahoma. In addition to A-CAM, Pioneer is also a recipient of a $24.2 Million ReConnect CARES Act Grant to construct 713 miles of fiber to 1,832 households in the rural areas of Kingfisher, Blaine, Dewey and Ellis counties. Pioneer has also committed to investing an estimated $100 million of general funds over ten years to extend Gigabit fiber technology to communities served by the Cooperative that are not covered by A-CAM or the ReConnect CARES Act Grant.
Pioneer Telephone is future-proofing the needs of its customers and its network infrastructure by constructing new fiber-optic facilities using Gigabit Passive Optical Network technology. Residents located in the A-CAM areas will have faster and more robust broadband speeds, allowing full access to services such as, multiple Digital TV streams, High-Definition DTV, Whole-Home DVR, 4K Live-streaming video, High Definition security cameras and robust home automation systems. For more detailed mapping of the A-CAM areas, visit the GoPioneer.com site, click on the “Get Fiber” link and visit the “Fiber Areas” section.
The Alternative Connect America Fund Model, or A-CAM program is an FCC Order funded by the Federal Universal Service Fund established by Congress under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The A-CAM program provides funding for unserved and underserved rural locations where current landline telecommunications facilities are not capable of providing 4/1Mbs, 10/1Mbs, or 25/3Mbs broadband capability. The A-CAM program uses a forward-looking cost model to predict the cost to provide qualifying Internet speeds to each location.