May 24th, 2019
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08/31/2004 - Optical Fiber Reaches Cheney

The long awaited optical fiber connection between Spokane and Cheney has finally reached fruition. The new optical fiber cable will connect the Eastern Washington University (EWU) main campus in Cheney with its facilities at the Riverpoint Campus in the Terabyte Triangle and beyond. The fiber connection will also make possible participation by EWU Cheney researchers in VPnet projects.

The optical fiber, installed by Potelco, Inc., is about thirteen miles of single-mode fiber from the EWU campus to the corner of Westbow Road and Spotted Road. The deployment partners, the City of Cheney and EWU, will share the installed bundle of twenty-four strands of fiber --- twelve strands each. The fiber follows a path that is predominately overhead but is underground as needed. Overhead, the fiber runs on poles owned by Avista, Inland Power, and the City of Cheney. At the Spotted Road terminus, two strands of fiber are connected to VPnet fibers hosted by Columbia Fiber Solutions.

According to EWU Dean of Libraries and Chief Information Officer (CIO) Patricia Kelley, Avista Corporation's gift of fiber to EWU and the City of Cheney led the way for the fiber project. Avista's generosity went beyond this gift to include consultation on specifications and routing by experts inside Avista and at Network Design and Management, Inc. Inland Power and Light Company also provided assistance in evaluating options for routing.

The EWU Cheney campus has a backbone that provides 2 gigabits of bandwidth, with 100 Mbit to the desktop as standard, and up to a gigabit to the desktop as needed. However, it has used DS-3 lines to connect off of the campus. Through the new fiber connection, EWU can more easily expand its capacity as needed to prevent bottlenecks at the exit point. "For example," says Kelley, "the new School of Computing and Engineering Sciences, once its facilities are completed and new programs are in full operation, can be expected to need broader bandwidth for research projects than EWU currently provides between campus and the Internet."

The City of Cheney's plans for the fiber are part of its overall long term plan for providing services to city businesses and residents.

Billie Moreland
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