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Independent telecommunications

Pat Patera

Faster, safer, cheaper. When buying communications telephone and Internet companies want speed and reliability. And who doesn’t want to pay less?

That’s why a newly formed telecommunications provider rather than SBC, which recently merged with AT&T will serve Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.

TRIC plans to offer the service to tenants at its massive industrial park 10 miles east of Sparks. And, unburdened as it is by a legacy of copper cable, it’s going glass with up to 150 miles of fiber cable.

Reno-based Nevada Comstock Communi-cations will install a gigabit-ethernet fiber optic telecommunications system to service more than160 square miles of the park, says Al Lachner, development director.

The benefits for companies at TRIC, he says, are more options with higher speeds for data transmission, a flat fee for phones with unlimited long distance, and unlimited Internet bandwidth to support VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and video conferencing (by Webcam).

Internet access will work at speeds potentially 100 times faster than the basic DSL service now serving the park, says Lachner.

And, he says, prices probably will be 50 percent of those charged by competitors.

Lachner adds, “You’ve got a David-and-Goliath scenario going when a local company takes on a giant corporation like AT&T. We’re going to have millions of square feet of industrial property. And if those tenants have a problem, they will talk with a local company, not to a service bureau in Bangalore.”

What prompted the formation of Nevada Comstock Communications?

“Some initial tenants of the park weren’t happy with SBC,” says Lachner. “Len Gilman wanted tenants to have an alternative to dealing with a large conglomerate; wanted something local. We had to create a phone and data company that was a step ahead of the competition.”

(Gilman, who works with L. Lance Gilman Commercial Real Estate Services of Reno, is marketing the 102,000-acre industrial park.)

Network reliability hinges on the fiber being laid in a ring. This creates a SONET ring (Synchronous Optical Network), an optical network that’s self-healing if, for instance, a backhoe slices through any part of it. In that event, the signal travels back through the loop until it reaches its destination. Multiple SONET rings are planned within the park.

The ring starts at 200 S. Virginia, known as the “Telco Hotel” because it’s a hub of communications technology.

It will run eastward along Interstate 80, cross the industrial park, loop back westward along Highway 50, then run back up Highway 395 to the starting point.

That system, with the ability to loop back, ensures 99.999 percent reliability, says Lachner.

“These businesses can’t afford to be down,” he says. “Every minute they’re down, it’s costing them thousands of dollars.”

Will Nevada Comstock Communications serve other customers? “Down the road that’s an option,” says Lachner. “But for now, the core business is TRIC.”

PUC approved Nevada Comstock Com-munications as a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier last July.

The company is owned by Gus Osterkamp, its president and a landowner at the park. Principals are Rod Boone, director and Lachner. The company employs one: Lachner.

Much of the work is outsourced.

Edge Communications of Sparks will do the trenching to lay the fiber. The company employs six now, added three in the last few months, and will add more over time, says Chris Martin, president.

Edge will install a microduct system which involves “jetting” or blowing fiber into the tube.

“We’ll be out there for the whole scope of the project,” says Martin.

While the primary infrastructure should be done in a couple of months, the whole project will take years.

The trenching will be put on hold in the park itself, a rough terrain spanning undeveloped lands between I-80 and Highway 50. Instead, Par Electrical Contractors, Inc. will erect poles to carry the fiber. As USA Parkway is built between I-80 and Highway 50, the poles will be taken down and the cable laid.

The fiber itself was outsourced to North-west Datacom and Power, Inc. in Reno. It orders the product, JetNet, from Draka Comteq, headquartered in North Carolina.

“A big order like this can have a profound effect on a small regional company,” says Greg Lafayette, president of Northwest Datacom and Power.

There’s the financial impact, and then there’s the exposure that could make the small company a player for bigger jobs.

“It could be potentially worth millions to us, depending on the components that come our way,” says Lafayette.

The company, founded in 1999, currently employs 10, with plans to take on more people as the project progresses, says Lafayette.

While the overall timeline of the project is long, Lachner predicts fast progress this year: Phase I in three weeks brings dial tone and Internet, while the SONET ring should be up by the third quarter of this year.

In addition to its own communications company, TRIC also has its own water source, power from four power plants near the facility, and a sewer treatment plant.


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