Thursday, June 21, 2018
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Prep for fiber begins

Duct installed underground before cable

After signing up 500 subscribers to a new telecommunication service, Pinpoint Communications Inc. wasted no time in getting started.

Pinpoint has contracted with MSI Incorporated in North Platte. That company, and a subcontractor, began installing underground conduit and overhead strand the first part of July.

Once the conduit is installed underground, fiber optic cable will be pulled through the underground pipe.

Fiber is attached overhead to steel strand cable.

For underground lines, MSI uses a directional drill rig and drill pipe to bore a hole underground. Conduit is pulled through the ground horizontally by the end of the drill pipe, according to MSI Incorporated operator Nick Flynn.

Flynn said the company is laying main line and service lines to subscribers throughout town.

Underground installation is better, he said, because lines are not affected by storms and power outages.

At a July 22 Gothenburg City Council meeting, Chris Karn of Grand Island, Pinpoint president and chief operating officer, said 90% of the fiber optic strand has been hung in the city and one mile of underground conduit.

Once completed, Karn said there will be 18 miles of overhead strand and six miles of underground conduit.

“We’d like to have all of it underground before the weather changes,” Karn said.

In fact, Karn said they hope to start adding customers to the network in November.

“We’ll tune it up and test some homes to make sure it’s working,” he said.

At the meeting, the council approved a 15-year fiber franchise agreement with Pinpoint that is similar to the contract the city has with Charter Communications, another telecommunication company.

A part of the agreement says that the city will receive a 5% franchise fee of gross revenues.

Council members also passed a pole use agreement with Pinpoint since the poles to which fiber optic strands are attached, belong to the city.

Again, city administrator Bruce Clymer said the agreement is nearly identical to the one the city has with Charter.

Fees the city will receive for pole rental are $10 per pole for the first five years.

Clymer said Charter uses about 680 poles and that Pinpoint officials are still figuring the number of poles they will need.

The fee increases a dollar per pole for the next five years and five years beyond.

Both agreements, for fiber and pole use, were introduced with the second and third readings waived.

Karn said Pinpoint is trying to attract 750 subscribers by the end of the year, noting that they now have more than 600.

Pinpoint’s corporate office is in Cambridge. Their Gothenburg office is located at 10th Street and Avenue D.

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