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Fiber network work began Monday
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Construction was scheduled to begin Monday on a 260-mile fiber optic network that could mean lightning-fast Internet for thousands of businesses and households in North Georgia.


It’s the first building phase for North Georgia Network, a nonprofit organization that plans to deliver broadband access to more than 334,000 residents in Dawson, Forsyth, Habersham, Lumpkin, Rabun, Towns, Union and White counties.


Builders were scheduled to break ground Monday in rural Rabun County, with the Habersham and White County portions next in line.


According to a news release, the network will be routed to pass hundreds of public and community institutions such as K-12 and technical schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, municipal buildings and public safety facilities.


Bruce Abraham, network president, announced the start of construction last week at the 2011 Economic Development Summit at North Georgia College & State University.


“The network will support bandwidth-hungry applications like distance learning, telemedicine, e-commerce and e-government,” he said.


According to Abraham, the planned fiber optic network will use Infinera technology, a new wave of broadband that provides speeds of up to 1.6 terabits per second.


“Infinera technology will enable NGN to offer the same broadband speeds as world-class cities like Hong Kong, London and New York,” he said.


“This kind of capacity will help us attract technology-reliant businesses and jobs to the north Georgia region.”


The major ring portion of the network is scheduled to be finished this year, while off-shoots of the core will be finished by the end of 2012, according to Abraham.


Vice President Joe Biden visited Dawsonville in December 2009 to announce federal stimulus assistance for local broadband Internet development.


Federal grants will help fund a large portion of the $33.5 million North Georgia Network project.