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Norvado Phillips Exchange | Rural Internet Connectivity in Wisconsin

For rural communities in Wisconsin, getting access to high-speed internet is a significant challenge. When internet access finally comes, it can create life-changing opportunities for students, workers, and families. At CNE, we’re proud to be a key partner in helping Wisconsin residents enjoy high-quality internet services. 

One of our latest operations to connect rural Wisconsinites was a fiber-to-the-home project in the Phillips Exchange area in 2023. In collaboration with Norvado and funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, CNE successfully upgraded the internet infrastructure for over 1000 households in northern Wisconsin. 

Challenge

Norvado purchased the Phillips Exchange in 2019. The region, situated approximately two hours northeast of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, suffered from outdated copper cable and facilities, leading to subpar broadband services for the residents and businesses. The project encompassed approximately 180 route miles in northern Wisconsin, serving over 1000 potential customers.

The project required extensive planning, design, engineering, and construction to ensure a high-performance and high-quality service for customers. Our team of engineers was prepared to tackle the task and provide a fiber-to-the-home network to meet the requirements and standards of the client.

Solution

Plans were drafted to complete a fiber-to-the-home project to replace outdated copper cables and facilities to deliver faster and more reliable broadband services. To fund the project, CNE and Norvado leveraged funding made available through the American Rescue Plan (ARPA), a federal program in part designed to fund broadband infrastructure projects. Some of the project’s cost was covered by ARPA funding.

Outcome

Construction began in earnest in May of 2022, with an average of 2-3 miles of cable buried each day. Three crews were responsible for the installation of cable, placement of pedestals, directional drilling, and eventual splicing. CNE helped with the design, permitting, construction, observation of the cable, field verification, and entering information into ArcGIS. 

One noteworthy feature of the project was the use of ArcGIS for online mapping and real-time as-built information. This allowed CNE to provide the client with up-to-the-minute updates. The project was completed in 2023, and as a result, the remote region in northern Wisconsin now has access to speedy and dependable broadband services, which have enhanced the quality of life and work for residents.

CNE is proud to have contributed to this project and to have helped Norvado connect more Wisconsin residents to high-speed internet. CNE is committed to providing excellent engineering services for broadband projects across the region.

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