What is the scope of the AVFN Grant?

The U.S. Commerce Department’s NTIA awarded a $21M Grant to AVFN, a public-private partnership, for construction of fiber optic cable in the Northwest Georgia and Eastern Alabama areas. Construction of at least 187 miles of new fiber optic cable and electronics is included in the funding. The total combined network, when completed, will include over 500 miles of high-speed, high-capacity service to the region.

Did the grant require local tax funds?

No local tax funding was required for the grant. However, the grant did require 20% of matching local funds. This match was provided by Parker FiberNet, LLC, a Summerville, Georgia based company and founding partner of AVFN.

What is the Impact Area?

The proposed service area is comprised of nine counties in Northwest Georgia:  Bartow, Chatooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding, Polk, and Walker. In Alabama, the service areas include the counties of Calhoun, Clay, and Cleburne. Taken together, the proposed service area includes 2,653 square miles and has a combined population of 383,980.

What is the timetable for completion of the network?

The project is scheduled to be substantially complete by August of 2012, with final completion by August of 2013. Construction is scheduled to begin in late summer of 2011. Prior to construction, AVFN is required to complete an Environmental Assessment for the affected region along with detailed engineering.

What type of Broadband Service will be deployed?

AVFN proposes to build a middle-mile fiber optic broadband network that expands the infrastructure of the pre-existing network operated by Parker FiberNet, a founding partner of AVFN. The network will consist of a large fiber ring spanning the Georgia portion of the network with seven nodes located in the most populous areas and terminating points in Atlanta and Chattanooga. The nodes will be supplemented with points of presence (POP), including multiple smaller POPs to satisfy demand for connectivity. Additional network redundancies and bandwith will be created through the construction of multiple sub-loops. A pre-existing data center in Rome, GA, will be expanded into a fiber hotel/collocation facility for northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama.

AVFN will use SONET connectivity and Wave Division Multiplexing to allow for efficient growth and future expansion of the middle-mile network. Border Gateway Protocol will be the core Internet product, peered with multiple tier 1 Internet providers. Telephone communications will be supported by three independent switch providers and multiple connections to AT&T. These technology solutions present a compelling case for extremely high speed, scalable and dependable broadband capabilities.

What does the grant do for the region and will it contribute to economic development?

AVFN will be an asset for education, healthcare, government agencies, law enforcement and businesses. The network will be an especially valuable tool for economic development and the challenges of marketing in areas of the region to prospective businesses and meeting the needs of existing employers. This region, like many across America, has been devastated by unemployment. Competing in the global marketplace is a difficult task for large metropolitan areas, but it is a special challenge for the rural south. We have amazing beauty, abundant natural resources, affordable cost of living and a dedicated workforce anxious for the opportunity to contribute to the support of families and communities. Without this valuable high-speed telecommunication asset, the region would be seriously handicapped in the pursuit of job development opportunities.

For more information regarding regional benefits of the project, check out our Benefits Page.