One project is wrapping up, while another is well in hand. That was the word recently at a meeting of Paragould Light, Water and Cable’s board of commissioners.
“With good weather in the next six weeks,” said Telecommunications Division Chief Marcus Dowdy, “we will be done with the Fiber to the Home project.”
He told the board construction in only two service areas remain to be completed, Bellwood and Bogil Road. “The splicers are in the Friendship area and [Highway] 49,” he said, “and then they’ll move down to Bellwood.”
Installers, meanwhile, were ongoing in the Valley View service area.
Dowdy said the electrical crews, which had worked continuously alongside the other divisions on the project, were now involved in removing the old coaxial system infrastructure.
Dowdy said a total of 10,051 optical network terminals (ONTs) have been installed thus far. “We figure on about 12,000 ONTs eventually,” he said. According to allconnect.com, the ONT is a unit “that serves as the middleman” between the subscriber’s fiber network and the set-top boxes in the subscriber’s home.
The number of ONTs could therefore be considered a measure of how many fiberoptic customers PLWC has.
“So out of 13,000 electric meters,” asked commissioner Kelly Wright, “we have 12,000 [fiberoptic] customers?”
“Yes,” replied Dowdy, “we have a very high penetration rate.”
Meanwhile, the conversion of the water system on the west side of town from the Western Greene County Water District to PLWC continues. Utility Chief Operations Officer Brett Bradford told the board the 250,000-gallon water tower and lift station in Center Hill are now in service, with PLWC crews installing a six-inch water line from the water main to the interior of Crowley’s Ridge College (CRC). “And we’re going to add a third fire hydrant, which will add to our fire protection [on the campus],” he said.
Other construction efforts, undertaken by both PLWC and Western Greene County, are expected to result in the “cut-over” of Western Greene’s system in the CRC area. “We expect to have the Deerfield service area and Crowley’s Ridge College to be fully on our system by about the first of April,” Bradford said.
Bradford added that the letting of one of two other contracts in the project will result in the laying of a water line from South Rockingchair Road to Bronze Leaf, and the connection of the Bronze Leaf area to the city’s water system. “That’s a pretty big job,” he said.
The other contract, on Greene 721 Road west of Greene County Tech High School, will switch 12 industrial customers to PLWC’s water system from Western Greene County.
The total project is expected to be completed by Aug. 1.
As previously reported, construction on the utility’s solar array is expected to start in earnest next month, with an estimated completion date no later than July 31.
Bradford said the utility’s $19 million sewer repair project has already begun, with smoke testing having identified areas needing repairs.