Office of Environmental Management

DOE, City of Richland and Benton PUD Increase Fiber Optic Telecommunication Capacity in Benton County - Upgrade improves communications at Hanford Site, schools and libraries

March 14, 2013

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Fiber Optic Broadband

Fiber Optic Broadband

RICHLAND, Wash. ― The Department of Energy (DOE), city of Richland, and Benton County’s Public Utility District (Benton PUD) jointly implemented a high-capacity fiber optic cable in Richland and at the Hanford Site. The project will improve communications throughout the area.

“This is an exciting project that really shows the value of partnering with the local community,” said Ben Ellison, Chief Information Officer for DOE’s Richland Operations Office and Office of River Protection. “Having a fast, reliable communications infrastructure is critical in supporting Hanford's cleanup mission. This project gives DOE the capacity it needs to further the mission and allows for future growth of both the community and Hanford cleanup activities.”

DOE and contractor Mission Support Alliance (MSA) collaborated with Benton PUD and the city of Richland to deploy 360 strands of fiber from downtown Richland to north Richland. The new fiber capabilities provide high-speed, reliable and redundant communication services to schools, libraries, and local businesses.

Benton PUD upgraded its existing power lines at the Rattlesnake Mountain Combined Community Communications Facility (CCCF), adding a fiber-optic core. In turn, Benton PUD will use fiber at Hanford in support of Benton PUD’s Advanced Metering Systems repeater at the CCCF facility, a key component in smart grid technology.

“This agreement allows Benton PUD to increase its capacity and redundancy, while also helping the Hanford project,” said Rick Dunn, director of Engineering for Benton PUD. “This is a win-win for Benton PUD and DOE.”

The fiber provides additional capacity at Hanford for improving the resiliency of the Hanford Federal Cloud and provides connections to several local DOE facilities.

“This was a great partnership and an opportunity for MSA and Benton PUD to collaborate,” said Todd Eckman, vice president of Information Management for MSA. “This new fiber optics will benefit DOE, Benton PUD and NoaNet (Northwest Open Access Network) users. This, combined with affordable power rates, makes the area attractive to potential businesses. ”