Company announces plans to build fiber optic system from DC suburb to Nashville

A fiber optic system would connect the Washington suburbs and Nashville under a plan announced Monday. Osprey Communications said it had struck a deal with the Virginia Department of Transportation to build the underground fiber line beneath highway rights of way from Haymarket to Bristol, Va. The company plans to continue that deployment across the state line and onward to Nashville.

Here’s the full release:

Blacksburg, Va.— Paul Elswick, Chief Executive Officer of Osprey Communications, LLC (Osprey) and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Stephen Brich today announced that VDOT and Osprey have executed a Fiber Optic Resource Sharing Agreement.  This agreement and the accompanying permits enable Osprey to construct an underground, multi-conduit fiber optic system in the VDOT limited-access right-of-way from Haymarket, Virginia to Bristol, Virginia. From the Virginia-Tennessee border, Osprey plans to continue the deployment to Nashville, Tennessee.

“Since its inception in 1998, VDOT’s Fiber Optic Resource Sharing program has allowed communications providers to install fiber infrastructure in VDOT’s limited-access rights-of-way. In return, VDOT has received over 4,700 miles of fiber routes to support transportation operations across the Commonwealth.” said Commissioner Brich. “Our agreement with Osprey dramatically enhances our traffic management capabilities along the I-81 and I-66 corridors, while bringing significant savings to Virginia taxpayers.”

“Virginia is the key juncture in America’s fiber optic infrastructure. Connecting major growth centers utilizing diverse protected routes with low latency is key to the sustainable growth of the world’s data needs,” Elswick said. “Osprey is meeting that need with fiber and fiber conduits to fulfill the demands of data companies and telecommunications providers alike.”

VDOT’s Fiber Optic Resource Sharing program allows telecom providers to install fiber resources within limited-access rights-of-way, which are not congested with other utility installations. Additional efficiencies are gained as providers coordinate solely with VDOT along these routes rather than multiple landowners.  In exchange, VDOT can receive compensation in any combination of goods, services and/or cash.

“This program is a win for both parties.  VDOT gets access to incredibly fast fiber capacity and Osprey is able to build its network from Ashburn to Nashville utilizing VDOT’s rights-of-,way for the Virginia portion of their route,” said Brook Lunsford, President of Osprey Communications.  “We have constructed over 10,000 miles of fiber and look forward to this project,” he added. 

“With Governor Northam’s focus on broadband deployment in the Commonwealth, we believe this agreement will not only strengthen the broadband infrastructure in Virginia, it will likely provide access to underserved communities along the route,” said Cathy McGhee, Director of Research and Innovation for VDOT. 

Elswick noted that “In addition to this project updating our aging national fiber optic infrastructure, it is personally important to me and my family that we were able to bring this fiber construction through Southwest Virginia, and continuing to upgrade the ability of the region to access high quality, high speed connectivity.”

“Direct fiber optic connectivity to major cities will benefit every area of Virginia we pass through, but perhaps none more so than Southwest Virginia as it takes its place as an ideal location for data centers; no hurricanes, extremely rare earthquakes, electrically diverse power grids, and with this diverse long-distance fiber optic construction, it will be even more attractive,” he added. 


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