I know that we’ve been a bit quiet here at Spiral, as we complete the steps to begin construction of our gigabit fiber optic internet project. Even though there is little to report, I wanted to share with you what’s been happening.
The process over the past five years involved attorneys, investors, banks, challengers, regulatory agencies … all entities that move at their own pace with their own agendas. What should take weeks often takes months, and sometimes years to complete.
If I have erred in any way in communicating to our community, it has been due to my inherent positivity. Announced dates and benchmarks have passed unfulfilled. In that, I apologize.
Yeah, crappy outdated internet access makes us all angry. I get it, as I have DSL at home. And I’m lucky, as I know many households have nothing. Especially in the outlying areas covered by our first phase.
In February 2013, when we submitted our grant application, we expected it to be approved within 9 months. That didn’t happen because SmarterBroadband, a local fixed wireless provider, incorrectly claimed 100% coverage throughout western Nevada County with a federally funded project that had yet to be built at that time.
So, our grant application — although essentially approved — was put on hold by the CPUC for two more years. It was finally approved for funding in December 2015 after the CPUC determined that, at best, SmarterBroadband had 20% coverage in our phase one project area.
Once the grant was approved, our environmental report took another year and a half to compile, submit, and then be voted on by the CPUC. During that period investors and banks signed on and left, frustrated by the timeline. We are currently reviewing multiple investment offers for the private matching funds. The $16.7M CASF funding remains ready for our use.
Also numerous people have come and gone at Spiral. None of this is news. It is just what happens in business.
Building a brand new underground network is an amazingly complex enterprise. If I had known at the start how long it was going to take and how much it would cost because of the delays, I actually might not have taken it on. But both I and Spiral are staying the course. Nine years of my life so far have been dedicated to its completion. I am personally committed to getting it built and operating.
We are actually getting close to the place where we can break ground. How close you ask? When will I have service? I truly don’t know an exact date, but we do plan to break ground this year and have the first phase completed within two years.
That I can promise. And you will be the first to know just before the shovels hit the ground.
Thanks for your support and patience over the years.
Co-founder & CEO
I am impressed with John Pauls dedication and persistence in pursuing this projects. He continues to overcome regulatory obstacles and move forward. My question is why have community leaders allow these obstacles to slow down and delay this vital economic development project? Do they not understand the significance of this technology?