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Teamwork Sparked Rapid Pace of Dixie Electric’s Fiber Project

Randy Sukow

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Dixie EPA Employee Works on Broadband Deployment in Rural Mississippi

Crews working on Dixie Electric Power Association’s DE Fastlink fiber project in Mississippi can be proud this week. They’ve just passed 1,000 miles of fiber cable installed in 2021. Dixie is using project management from NRTC Broadband Solutions. The various partners in the project have moved with swift efficiency, NRTC executives say, thanks to a strong relationship with the Dixie management team.

The partners built about 830 of 1,000 those miles from June through November. Shawn Sweeney, Chief Operating Officer of NRTC Broadband Solutions, estimates that construction has been moving ahead at a pace about 25 percent faster than past NRTC-led broadband projects.

The faster the network grows, the faster that previously unserved rural areas have access to high-speed internet. DE Fastlink subscribers now number 2,500 and are on a pace to surpass 3,000 by the end of the year.

Ron Donnell, NRTC’s director of Outside Plant, listed several reasons for success.

  • Dixie Electric for the foresight built into its fiber plan.
  • Field engineers performed work significantly ahead of construction crews. This step avoided delays if there were any major make ready issues.
  • NRTC’s automated design tools enabled construction crews to coordinate their work efforts on tablet computers. “This allowed all of our inspectors to know exactly where everyone was working at any time. The tool also provided for much quicker verification of construction, billing and invoicing by the contractor, and ultimately NRTC to the co-op,” Donnell said.
  • Project partner TVC  kept materials flowing to crews, an often-difficult task as supply chain problems affected deliveries. Partner SDT ensured that the right number of work crews were active in the field.

A long list of project partners “were completely focused on making sure there were no hiccups in production, material management and engineering,” Donnell said.

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