Cumberland Times-News

Local News

November 3, 2013

Conxx secures contract for AllCoNet microwave upgrade

CUMBERLAND — Allegany County commissioners awarded a contract for $599,869.22 to Conxx System to provide a microwave upgrade to the AllCoNet system.

The award was made at Thursday’s regular business meeting.

“This is another step to make sure broadband is available in Allegany County,” said Beth Thomas, the county’s coordinator of information technology. The project will improve the reliability and speed of the network, Thomas said.

AllCoNet is a county Internet and broadband system. Funding for the upgrade will come from the Appalachian Regional Commission ($300,000), the county ($100,000), and Allegany County Public Schools ($100,000) and the city of Cumberland ($100,000), with a few dollars left over.

“The ... microwave link upgrade will include the replacement of Harris Stratex links that are no longer commercially available ... or near 100 percent utilization,” Thomas has said. It’s been about 10 years since an upgrade of the microwave links.

“The project will increase core network capability ... improve the reliability of the network and maintain critical broadband infrastructure,” said Thomas. The changes will speed up data transmission.

There were tight requirements on bidders for the project.

AllCoNet also serves more than 40 businesses and a large residential market.

In another broadband-related item, commissioners entered an agreement to work with the Maryland Broadband Cooperative to extend fiber optic cable in the county, the county will recoup some of the costs of the project through a revenue sharing agreement. Completion of the project is expected sometime in January.

“Weather can obviously be the wild card in this,” said Matthew Diaz, the county’s director of economic and community development.

The lines will be extended to offer better service to the Barton Business Park. The cost is not to exceed $220,000, according to the agreement, Diaz said the county will have a 50 percent revenue share for each customer added to the system.

Commissioners also heard about plans for a marathon in the county, involving running on the Great Allegheny Passage trail and the C&O Canal National Historical Park towpath. The Queen City Striders running club will be organizing the event, which will be part of the Active Water campaign, which attempts to bring clean water to people around the world.

“It would be a Boston (Marathon) qualifier for the runners, it’s a pretty big deal,” said Staci Calder, a member of Queen City Striders. Calder said the event is still looking for sponsors and is planned for March 29. Because the event will be on the trails, it will not affect traffic much, Calder said. The current budget is set at about $15,000, Calder said.

Active Water’s website is at http://www.activewater.org/.

The commission meeting took place at county offices on Kelly Road.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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