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The school is small and located in a rural area with only 260 students enrolled in K-12th grades. As a member of the MOREnet system, the school receives their Internet and other on-line programs from the MOREnet network. Many other school districts which are members of MOREnet have access to Ethernet over fiber optic cable; however this technology was not readily accessible at a reasonable cost in Niangua. The telecommunications infrastructure that was available in Niangua was not robust enough to allow the school to take advantage of the hi-tech applications they needed for their students.
Through the NTIA grant received by Sho-Me Technologies and in cooperation with Webster Electric of Marshfield, MO, the Sho-Me MO project was able to make Niangua Schools a Community Anchor Institution with grant funding providing for the fiber optic cable build to the school. Now they have a 100 Mb/s Ethernet connection to the MOREnet network.
“Before our recent fiber update our students and teachers were unable to utilize the technology that our district has collected over the last five years. Due to the lack of speed and connectivity, our students were unable to research effectively and our teachers were unable to provide quick learning opportunities in the classroom. With the increased bandwidth, our students are able to research more quickly and efficiently using our laptops and tablets. Our district is pushing to provide a 1 to 1 tablet environment to all students in grades 3 through 12 for the 2012-2013 school years and this would not be possible without the upgraded fiber,” said TJ Bransfield, Niangua School Superintendent.
For the past year, the staff at Sho-Me has been working to complete the first phase of the Sho-Me Mo project. Sho-Me Mo is a project that has received federal funding from the Recovery Act which enables Sho-Me to construct a middle-mile fiber optic network in territories of the state that are underserved. If you have been following us, you have probably witnessed our progress, our setbacks, and just the overall learning curve that comes with a project of this magnitude. Here is a look back on the events of the past year since we received confirmation of funding.
One of the first tasks associated with the Sho-Me Mo project is the construction of the backbone fiber. The new routes will tie into our existing network and will introduce our network to several new communities. Our original plan was to begin construction in April of 2011, but due to filing and environmental regulations, the official project kickoff didn’t occur until June. Our quest to begin the fiber installation hit another hurdle when we learned that the delivery of the fiber optic cables we had ordered for the project was going to be delayed. The delivery that was anticipated for the April/May 2011 time frame had been pushed back to early 2012. While this was discouraging, we were able to continue with construction by burying the conduit which is used to hold and protect the fiber underground. Fortunately, our first shipment of fiber optics arrived early and we anticipate another delivery in the coming weeks. Once the conduit is in place, the fiber will be installed by “blowing” the fiber into the conduit. Blowing is a combination of low force pushing and a powerful flow of air. Some of the fiber blowing has been initiated in the area of Linn, Missouri. During the first phase of our project, we will construct fiber in and between the communities of Long Lane, Buffalo, Bolivar, Warsaw, Sedalia, California, Jefferson City, Linn, Vienna, Hermann, and Washington. This will total 233 miles of fiber. At present time we have approximately 157 miles of conduit in place. Fiber has been placed in approximately 4 miles of the conduit. We hope to see a conclusion of Phase I construction in early to mid-2012.
Community Anchor Institutions
One of the major benefits of our project is that we are connecting 100 Community Anchor Institutions, or CAIs. These CAIs are places like schools, government, and public safety entities that will truly benefit from broadband services. As stated above, we have identified 100 of these entities and we will build fiber into each one, allowing them to take advantage of our services. Sedalia is a community where we are actively working and we have already finalized the build into 6 of our CAIs. Our contractors are currently working on several more CAIs and we look forward to completing work at these locations soon.
Points of Presence (POPs)
The Sho-Me Mo project is a “middle-mile” project. The network we are building and the existing network we are granting to this project will be open access to any provider who wants to use it. In order to make the network available to other providers, we are providing Points of Presence (POPs) where people can access our network. These POPs are telecommunication shelters which will house equipment and rack space for interconnections with end providers. Our network is connected to major Telco hotels and Internet hubs in St. Louis and Kansas City. Through interconnections at our POPs, end providers throughout the state will have access to this bandwidth. When complete, the project will have ninety POPs. We are currently deploying fifteen new telecommunication shelters. Sho-Me has currently placed 14 of these facilities and hope to have the 15th operational early next year.
The Sho-Me Mo project is moving forward and we continue to work on the remainder of Phase I construction. The second and third phase will continue on as planned in 2012 and 2013. One way to keep up with continued progress is by signing up for our weekly newsletter. To sign up, please click here. As always, you are more than welcome to pose questions to us on the “Contact Us” page, here on the website, or by emailing email@example.com.
Video Courtesy of Gary Hamilton, Sho-Me Technologies
A new addendum outlining specifications for the chain link fence material has been added to SMM017.