April 16, 2009

Phone Company Announces Plans For $4 Million Upgrade in Memphis

The local speed limit is going up on the information superhighway. On April 9th Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Cooperative unveiled plans for a major upgrade to its infrastructure in Memphis.

CEO Gary Godfrey announced plans for a $4 million upgrade in the 465 exchange. The phone company will be installing fiber optic cable to every home and business in Memphis. The new connections will replace the existing copper lines.

Fiber capacity is infinitely greater than copper, Godfrey said. This upgrade basically future-proofs our system for new technology advancements.

He indicated the new lines will offer virtually unlimited potential for bandwidth, which will allow for significant increases in data transfer to and from customers.

This upgrade will not only impact the phone and Internet service but the companys recently added cable television packages as well.

Godfrey stated the company likely will offer new higher-speed Internet service packages above and beyond the current high-speed DSL services currently available.

He noted that this project will be the first such upgrade performed by Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Cooperative.

The project is expected to begin by June 1st with the contractors scheduled for completion within 100 days.

Plant Superintendent David Riddle explained that the bulk of the construction will entail boring the new fiber optic lines under ground on existing utility right of ways. The new drop lines to each residence and business, will be plowed. Riddle said the services lines will be buried approximately 18 inches and will be installed in a conduit similar to what is being used for gas lines.

The new fiber lines will run directly to a box on the side of the home or business. Unlike the copper line, which transferred a small electric charge to ring the telephone, the new fiber system will require the installation of a battery pack to perform that process. Godfrey stated the small system would be placed near an electrical outlet to allow the battery to recharge without interruption.

The company indicated the transition will require very little down time for the service. The new fiber optic lines will be installed in addition to the existing lines, allowing the technicians to implement a cut over to the new service once it has been tested.

Godfrey stated that not only will the upgrade change the appearances of the city, by eliminating numerous telephone poles and aerial lines, but the new system ultimately will benefit the community as an economic development opportunity.

With more and more business transpiring on the Internet, the availability of fiber optic bandwidth should make the city a more attractive destination for companies looking to get started or expand, Godfrey said.

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