With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic came a shift in our work and learning environments as the demand for remote internet access grew. Over the past two years, deficiencies in broadband systems have become more apparent, with much of the U.S. still lacking reliable networking infrastructure and connectivity that is sufficient for virtual work, learning, and telemedical needs. As demands for online services rise, Horrocks continues to deliver broadband projects that provide the fast and dependable internet access our communities require.
Improving Connectivity Across the U.S.
Findings in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Annual Telecommunications Report show that approximately 19 million Americans (6% of the population) lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. These percentages are more pronounced in rural and tribal areas across the nation, with limited access for nearly 25% of the rural population (14.5 million people) and nearly 33% of the tribal population.
To bridge this gap in internet connectivity, federal, state, and local governments are prioritizing funding for broadband internet access. In 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $1.5 trillion infrastructure package, the Moving Forward Act, that contains strong provisions to promote digital equity and broadband capacity building.
In addition to this large bill, there are programs such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which offers $550 billion in funding, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that provides $65 billion, as well as the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which has $20.4 billion in funding specifically for connecting rural homes with much-needed broadband access. Other resources include the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program; Emergency Connectivity Fund; Affordable Connectivity Program; and many other state-level grant opportunities that local governments can apply for to expand broadband infrastructure and access to their communities.
The Rise of Broadband and Fiber Optics
Technically defined, broadband is the transmission of wide bandwidth data across a high-speed internet connection. According to the FCC, internet service is considered broadband if it delivers minimum download speeds of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 3 Mbps. Recent definitions of broadband set the thresholds of 100 Mbps download and 25 Mbps upload. Broadband provides fast internet access via multiple mediums of technology, including fiber optics, coaxial cable, satellite, digital subscriber line (DSL), and more.
Telecommunications experts agree that the future of internet access lies with fiber optics. Fiber optic internet connection provides the fastest internet speeds possible over longer distances by transmitting data via infrared light over glass fiber strands through fiber cables. This technology delivers internet services at a higher bandwidth than electrical cable with immunity to electromagnetic interference. Some people assume that wireless connections will eventually overtake the need for fiber optics, but this is a false assumption because all wireless antennas are fed with a fiber optic connection. This is why fiber optics is the most crucial piece of communications infrastructure.
There is a large need for middle-mile fiber optics, the backbone of broadband infrastructure that connects long-haul and last-mile infrastructure systems. Middle-mile infrastructure projects are a major contributor to connecting underserved communities due to the typically vast distances between existing long-haul systems and rural communities. Typically, middle-mile infrastructure is utilized to provide network redundancy, which provides two or more physically separate connections to long-haul systems to minimize or eliminate network outages. Last-mile fiber optics, including fiber to the x (FTTx), are needed to connect the service to residences and businesses.
Horrocks' Broadband Services
Broadband and information technology are critical to modern society’s ability to communicate efficiently and effectively. Broadband connectivity is no longer a luxury; it is now a necessity. Horrocks strives to be at the forefront of deploying new broadband infrastructure and improving existing infrastructure to provide reliable internet access across the U.S.
Our team understands what it takes to deliver a broadband project from project planning and design through final construction and closeout. We work on all types of broadband projects, including backbone, middle-mile, and FTTx, and serve both public and private sector clients. We help agencies and service providers develop broadband plans for their areas and provide grant writing assistance to receive federal funding. Once funds are received, we continue with full environmental clearances, obtain any necessary right-of-way, coordinate with the required jurisdictions and permitting authorities, and complete survey and fielding efforts. Next, we transition into design engineering; network architecture selection; conduit, cabling, and optics selection; and can assist with the competitive contractor bidding process through contract award. Finally, we are fully capable of completing project management and construction management duties throughout the construction phase, including tracking installed quantities, producing contractor pay estimates, verifying final testing, and completing the project acceptance/closeout process.
As a full turnkey service provider, we can provide:
Survey and fielding
Environmental clearance and permitting
Grant application assistance
Our Telecommunications Experts
Horrocks’ Telecommunications Department comprises a range of staff members with extensive backgrounds in broadband/fiber optic systems. Learn more about our key telecommunications personnel below.
Brian Christensen Telecommunications Director
23 years of project management and design engineering experience.
Paul Tavella Senior Project Manager
28 years of experience in wireless and wired broadband projects.
Brad Smith Director of Fiber Optics
22 years of construction, installation, construction management, and design engineering experience.
Clint Jorgensen Senior Network Manager
15 years of fiber network development, administration, oversight, and design.
JJ Wood Senior Fiber Manager
15 years of construction, installation, construction management, and design engineering experience.
Blake Child Senior Project Manager
18 years of broadband fiber design engineering and project management experience.
Jason Libert Senior Construction Manager
15 years of broadband design, permitting, and construction management experience.
Curtis Carter Project Manager
16 years of broadband design and project management experience.
Adam Nester Senior Construction Manager
25 years of fiber optic construction management experience.
Learn more about our broadband capabilities by visiting our Telecommunications Services page or contact our team for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.