Frontier Promises Vastly Improved Service With New Fiber Rings
Green Bank, WV – Frontier Communications has big plans to vastly improve broadband service throughout West Virginia by building Reconfirgurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexor or ROADM networks. In the past, service was limited by the physical limitations of the fiber optic cables themselves. Reed Nelson, Director of Engineering for Frontier, says the ROADM networks work a little differently.
“So this new technology with these ROADM nodes, allows it to actually on one piece of fiber to break that out into separate wavelengths like you would a prism” says Nelson. “But like through a prism, it breaks it into the colors, it is the same thing that happens with these ROADM links; and you can break it into 88 separate wavelengths on one piece of glass. And on each of those wavelengths you can put up to 40GB of traffic across one of those wavelengths.”
Nelson spoke to a small crowd gathered for his presentation at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank last week. He says the fiber ring that will stretch from Monroe through Pocahontas and counties north will have 24 ROADM nodes, cover almost 66 miles and cost around 5.9 million. Nelson says the proposed upgrades are being scrutinized for proper use of stimulus funding and environmental concerns. He says until those hurdles are cleared, they can’t move forward on the project.
“So we’ve kind of been sitting since August, thinking any time this is going to happen and we can start” says Nelson. “Last thing we had heard in the last few days, is their saying well, hopefully within two weeks. As soon as we do, we’ll start placing these ROADM nodes, and as weather will permit we’ll start doing the fiber placement.”
Ultimately Nelson says there will be 13 fiber rings crossing the state with 127 of the ROADM nodes. He says although it’s been a constant struggle to keep up with the increasing demand for internet access, Frontier nevertheless will provide a dramatic increase in service for our area later this month.
“What we’ve tried to do in the interim, is that we’re still investing in our ATM Network, that’s the other technology” says Nelson. “We’re building in pipes in these areas and investing a significant amount of money even though we know we’re going in another direction; we’re still investing that to augment sites like Marlinton. What we have specifically for here is that we’re going to double the capacity. By the 17th of this month that doubling of capacity will be in place for this market.”
Nelson says Frontier understands the frustrations of those seeking better service, but also asks for patience while they build the new network.
“There’s a couple of reasons for that” he says. “One, this is the largest state within Frontier’s company, by far by access links. It is also very unique as you look at the map to have so much of the geography of the state owned by one company. It’s being viewed from a national perspective, from Washington DC as we’ve gone through the stimulus to say Wow, what can happen if a company really invests in a market with top technology, can it work?”
Clearly Frontier is banking their money on the success of the program.