The wheels are still in motion, and now public comments are being sought Digital 395, the fiber-optic network for the Eastern Sierra.
Notices were published recently in newspapers, with the comment period beginning today and ending on Sept. 27.
The following release and other information is available online at the digital395.com
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), as lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), intends to adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for the Digital 395 Middle Mile Project based on the analysis contain in the Draft Joint National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessment and CEQA Initial Study (EA/IS) prepared by the Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The California Broadband Cooperative, Inc., as a grant recipient of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, proposes the installation of the Digital 395 Middle Mile Project, which includes approximately 593 miles of middle-mile fiber-optic cable and associated infrastructure to provide broadband service to unserved and underserved areas in the Eastern Sierra.
The Digital 395 Middle Mile Project will be located between Carson City and Barstow. The route mainly follows the US 395 highway corridor.
The route crosses through San Bernardino, Kern, Inyo, and Mono Counties in California, and Douglas, Carson City, and Washoe Counties in Nevada. The proposed service area encompasses 36 communities, seven Native American reservations, and two military bases (Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and the United States Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center), and crosses US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-administered lands and USDA Forest Service lands.
The Digital 395 Route consists of a main backbone and various spurs that lead away from the main backbone. The various spurs along the project route branch from the main backbone to connect to nodes within communities along the route.
The Proposed Project involves the installation of underground optical fiber cables within the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) right-of-way (ROW)/easements, county-maintained dirt roads, or Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) ROW/easements.
In addition to the installation of the fiber optic cable on Caltrans and NDOT ROW/easements, a number of other agencies and jurisdictions are involved, including BLM, Native American tribal reservations, Inyo and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests, City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Department of Defense, State-owned lands, and City, County, and Regional lands. Buildings to be constructed are proposed within existing land use types zoned for utilities. The Proposed Project would not change any land use or zoning types.
The Digital 395 Middle Mile Project would make middle-mile fiber available for broadband service providers to bring cost effective, high-speed broadband services to areas that do not have access to it today. This middle-mile infrastructure would provide access to (1) unserved communities; (2) underserved communities; (3) schools, libraries, community colleges, and other institutions of higher education; (4) public safety agencies and healthcare providers; and would (5) stimulate demand for broadband, economic growth, and job creation.
The goal of the Proposed Project is to make broadband capacity in the Eastern Sierras equal to that available in major metropolitan areas and more populated areas of California and Nevada.
Hard copies or CDs of the Environmental Assessment and the Initial Study are available for review at local libraries and Forest Service offices.
For additional information or to read the EA/IS online, please check the Project website: www.digital395.com.