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 July 1, 1999

Fiber-optic network BRAN awards construction contract

BOULDER — A contract to build an innovative high-speed fiber-optic network connecting city of Boulder offices, University of Colorado at Boulder and federal labs has been awarded, with work scheduled to begin this month.

The agreement to build the Boulder Research and Administrative Network (BRAN) was finalized after approval from Boulder city council, CU, the Department of Commerce labs and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Business Report first reported the BRAN proposal was under discussion in January.

“It’s not a win-win situation, it’s a win-win-win-win, with all four parties really benefiting,´ said Kent Groninger, executive director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) labs in Boulder.

“It was just such an obvious good idea, we just kept working it,” he added.

The $1.2 million job was awarded to Sturgeon Electric Co. of Henderson; ComTel Technology of Broomfield will be one of the lead subcontractors, laying the 11-mile, 96-strand fiber-optic lines. Construction is expected to be completed in five to six months.

Describing the speed of fiber, Groninger said a single strand running at OC12 (optical carrier), at which some of the data will be transmitted from the labs, could transmit three and a half of the Denver phone books per second. “And that’s just one of the 96 strands we have,” he noted.

One of the final roadblocks BRAN had to overcome was a request by CU to eventually run fiber out to their South Campus, a 308-acre parcel of land between Table Mesa Drive and South Broadway. CU regents were worried that the city, which controls right-of-way, eventually might deny extension of fiber to the site if Boulder and CU officials were at odds over the property’s development.

“When the regents realized this was a very sensitive issue and that it jeopardized BRAN’s success, a compromise was made, and they are willing to go with what we have for now,” Groninger explained. “There are just so many other things to do before that south site is developed.”

About 36 percent of the BRAN system will use existing conduits already built by the city, according to Bob Rhinesmith, Boulder’s director of information technology.

The city, which will supervise the construction, is giving its infrastructure as an “in-kind” contribution, Rhinesmith said. “It is not out-of-pocket money, but it is clearly a significant value.

“We’ve looked at ourselves as trying to be the facilitators of this very positive thing,” Rhinesmith said.

Although many city offices already are connected with fiber, the new system gives the city “redundancy in its network” as well as connecting other facilities, including the George Reynolds Branch Library.

Rhinesmith, like other officials in the project, praised the BRAN agreement as an example of “intergovernmental cooperation.”

“Clearly the technology is great, and there are a lot of obvious benefits there, but when governments and organizations can get together … I just think we should be doing more of this kind of thing.”

BOULDER — A contract to build an innovative high-speed fiber-optic network connecting city of Boulder offices, University of Colorado at Boulder and federal labs has been awarded, with work scheduled to begin this month.

The agreement to build the Boulder Research and Administrative Network (BRAN) was finalized after approval from Boulder city council, CU, the Department of Commerce labs and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Business Report first reported the BRAN proposal was under discussion in January.

“It’s not a win-win situation, it’s a win-win-win-win, with all four…

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