Digital 395 bringing high-speed internet to Eastern SierraMay 23rd, 2012 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
An exciting project called Digital 395 is bringing fast broadband internet service to the Eastern Sierra, and construction starts in the next few weeks. The fiber optic line is expected to “light up” in mid-2013, opening the door to many new opportunities currently unavailable in our rural area.
Digital 395 has successfully worked through the environmental approval process, and construction has started on the Barstow and California/Nevada border ends of the project. The Mono Lake Committee worked with the planning team on the planned fiber optic cable route through the Mono Basin to make sure installation wouldn’t produce adverse visual or ecological impacts. The plans are good, and near the sensitive Mono Lake shoreline the route will stick closely to Highway 395, which will confine impacts to already-disturbed areas along the shoulder.
Fast, reliable internet is not only crucial to the Eastern Sierra’s existing businesses, agencies, organizations, and institutions, it also represents exciting possibilities for new economic growth in the region. Anyone who can work remotely will be able to move to the Eastern Sierra without uprooting entire businesses, bringing fresh ideas and energy to the region.
Thirty-four years ago, when Sally Gaines kept the Mono Lake Committee’s member records on index cards in a box, there were no “interruptions in service.” But today, Membership Coordinator Ellen King taps into detailed online database tools, and slow internet speeds means delays in accomplishing routine tasks. Digital 395 will change that.
Lee Vining is located in the project’s “middle mile” region between Carson City, Nevada and Barstow, California. The 583-mile fiber network will mainly follow Highway 395, and will bring reliable internet to 36 communities when it is completed and in service in July 2013.