BARSTOW • Barstow is slated to be the end point for a 583-mile fiberoptic cable that will bring high-speed Internet to some of the most isolated areas of the state.
The cable, known as the Digital 395 project, will travel from Barstow to Carson City, Nev., passing through San Bernardino, Kern, Inyo and Mono counties.
Barstow's location is key because it lies along one of the main fiberoptic lines that transmits the Internet throughout the nation, said Praxis Associates CEO Mike Ort, whose company is building the new system.
"If you think about the Internet, it looks an awful lot like the interstate highway system," Ort said.
It will reach 36 municipalities, six Indian reservations and three military bases for a total of about 26,000 households, the company says.
The project received the final go-ahead recently from the Barstow Planning Commission, which needed to sign off on the proposed location for the transmission facility.
The project receives 80 percent of its funding — more than $81 million — from the 2009 federal stimulus, 19 percent from the state and 1 percent from participating local governments.
The project is slated to create about 1,107 jobs over two years. That includes jobs directly associated with the project as well as jobs created as a result of money spent by people working on the project, Ort said.
"It's really going to be a nice addition to the telecommunications infrastructure in that area," said Mike Flynn of California Broadband Cooperative, another company involved with the project, at a recent Planning Commission meeting.
Contractors will install a prefabricated building on a property located at 201 S. Mal Wessel Ct., off of West Main Street. It is adjacent to another fiberoptic facility owned by Level 3 Communications, which will connect the project to existing Internet lines.
The project, Ort said, would be a seismic shift for residents in the Eastern Sierra.
"You don't have to give up living in a beautiful place anymore," Ort said. "You're going to be able to be connected to the information in the world."
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