Sertex Broadband taps Corning for fiber network build-out on Block Island, RI

Feb. 17, 2021
Equipment and underground construction materials arrive on-island; aerial construction awaits completion of engineering and make-ready work; "BroadbandBI" website is launched.

Despite rough seas, winter winds, and limited ferry availability, Sertex Broadband Solutions (Plainfield, CT), a regional expert in rural fiber-optic infrastructure deployment in the Northeast U.S., on Feb. 8 announced that it has mobilized equipment and transported thousands of feet of micro duct conduit onto Block Island, RI, to prepare for construction of the new island-wide broadband network.

Billed as the first publicly-owned/privately-operated fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network in Rhode Island, the Town of New Shoreham (TNS) Island-wide broadband network is in its early-stage make-ready and late-stage engineering phases, reports Sertex. Following preliminary design work completed in December and January, underground drop construction to residences and businesses is expected to begin soon, reports the firm.

Sertex engineering professionals are mapping out the route the fiber will travel across the island. The make-ready stage requires local utility and telecommunications providers to reposition equipment on the pole lines to make room for the new fiber-optic cabling. Underground drops to individual properties will be planned in geographical waves. Coordination is required with property owners before any construction can begin in order to secure permissions for access and authorization of the drop route. The network will be built with all Corning products, allowing Sertex to provide the manufacturer’s 25-year warranty on all installed equipment, the firm reports.

A joint deployment of the Town of New Shoreham and Sertex, the first publicly-owned fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network in Rhode Island will use four strands of the submarine fiber-optic cable that connects Block Island to the mainland. With an $8 million capital expenditure authorized by the town, the network will provide residents and businesses with access and choice for high-speed Internet and phone service, with multiple plans from 25 Mbps to 1 Gbps featuring no data usage limits or caps.

Once completed, the island-wide project will involve 41.6 miles of backbone construction, including 38 miles of underground cabling and 2.4 miles of aerial cabling. Sertex Broadband will design and construct a redundant link with multiple, geographically-diverse cables feeding the network so service is not interrupted if the primary fiber cable is damaged.

To facilitate communication with Block Island property owners, Sertex and TNS have launched a new website, Property owners and businesses are encouraged to visit the site to register now for a fiber-optic drop, and later to subscribe for high-speed Internet and phone service.

“Sertex is proud to partner with BroadbandBI to bring reliable high-speed Internet service to Block Island residents, businesses, and visitors,” said Michael Solitro, Sertex's president and CEO. “We anticipate building 62 miles of underground drop footage to connect the island. Coordination with Block Island property owners is essential to begin construction. By encouraging people to register early, our goal is to make as much progress as possible during the winter and early spring before the busy summer season begins.”

For more information, visit

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