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AFN Underground Clarification
Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2000

The following is a guest editorial submitted to the Ashland Daily Tidings from Pete Lovrovich, Director of Electric Utilities and Telecommunications. A recent article in the Daily Tidings headlined “Buried lines add more delays to AFN” creates the misperception that homes requiring underground wiring are somehow slowing AFN’s rollout in Ashland. Buried lines are not slowing AFN at all. Buried lines are an issue we had to consider as we decided how best to offer AFN services to as many Ashland residents as possible as quickly as possible. But buried lines are not a problem that causes AFN a delay in rolling out services to Ashland. A year ago we decided that the quickest way to deliver AFN was to offer the service first to neighborhoods with easy connections and later to the neighborhoods with more involved connections. This is not news. The neighborhood rollout map and plan were published late last spring. The easy connections are found in parts of the city with overhead wiring and closely clustered houses. Those conditions typically exist in Ashland’s older neighborhoods. AFN will be installed first in the neighborhoods around Ashland Community Hospital and above and below Briscoe School. Next come the railroad district, downtown and the area above it. Then it’s on to the area around the high school and the area west of Lincoln School. After the older neighborhoods come the newer neighborhoods. And, yes, some of these newer neighborhoods have underground lines. That’s why AFN has purchased special trenching equipment and has trained some installers to be underground specialists. When the time comes - possibly a year from now - that we begin wiring the newer neighborhoods, we will be ready to make those installations smoothly and quickly. It should also be noted that many of those newer homes will be easy hookups because, knowing that underground wiring of Ashland Fiber Network service would be an issue in the future and that overhead wiring is unsightly, the city began requiring in 1998 that newly-constructed homes in Ashland have conduit installed from the home to the street. AFN has also been installing telecom conduit within the roadways of all new subdivisions for quite some time, allowing AFN access to more than 300 homes with buried lines. Ashland Electric Utility will be installing conduit along the roadway within the Oak Knoll subdivision this spring in order to replace outdated electric lines located along the back property lines. We plan to install telecom lines at the same time to provide 250+ homes with access to AFN services. I appreciate the patience of Ashland citizens as we work expeditiously to deliver this much-anticipated, new technology to our community. Thanks for this opportunity to clarify the issue.

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