Blainebusinesses to get speed boost

Published on Thu, Jun 23, 2005 by ara Nelson

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Blaine businesses to get speed boost

By Tara Nelson

Blaine businesses could get a high-speed boost to their Internet connections in the near future if the Blaine City Council approves a contract between the city and Black Rock Cable next week to install metropolitan Ethernet, a fiber optic cable with gigabit capacity.

If the council votes yes, the cable could replace DSL services for many businesses such as banks and other companies with multiple offices that depend on a high-speed connection to transfer large amounts of data. This will mean the availability of faster, less-expensive communication that could also attract outside investment to the city, said Ray Poorman, Chief technology officer for CSS Integration and Communications, the company that will be installing the hardware equipment to make the fiber useable.

“We can plug in someone in Blaine and drop them pretty much anywhere in the U.S. and the world at a pretty high rate of speed,” Poorman said. Black Rock Cable plans to install the cable.

Businesses that need to transfer large amounts of data often use expensive T1 or DS3 high-speed communication ports, data circuits that run approximately 1.5 and 4.5 megabits per second, respectively, and cost between $800 to as much as $7,000 a month — often making it costly for large businesses and inaccessible for small businesses.

The Ethernet, on the other hand, would cost approximately $200 per month for multi-tenant buildings and $700 per month for single tenant buildings and would transmit data as fast as 10,000 megabits per second, or 10 gigabits, Poorman said.

It could also enable more people to work from home, attracting more residents from large, urban areas, he said.

“You got high-income homes with owners who want to live down here and commute to work in Canada,” Poorman said. “Well, now they can.”

Bob Warshawer, president of Black Rock Cable agreed.

“Think of DSL as a big string,” Warshawer said. “Think of T1s as a garden hose. And think of the Ethernet as a water main. This is good for business.”

Poorman also said CSS is looking to expand into Birch Bay and, eventually, surrounding areas such as Ferndale and Grandview. He said it already has plans to install cable in those areas but its usability depends on customer demand.

“It’s going to run right through Custer, but there’s not a lot of customer base there,” Poorman said. “It would cost millions to get the equipment working.”

Blaine police chief Michael Haslip said the council will first review the agreement on Monday, June 27 and again on July 11 to allow time for public comment since it involves allowing a private company the use of city infrastructure.

“(Both sides) are hopeful we’ll have an agreement ironed out by then,” Haslip said.

If the agreement passes, Warshawer said he expects the cable to be installed by fall 2005.