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    ELB Sidewalks Uprooted Now With Promise To Be Restored As Verizon Installs Cutting-Edge, Blazing-Speed, Multi-Media Fiber Optic Lines Offering Residents Add'l Communication Options

    (January 21, 2006) -- Pardon our dust...and debris, holes and noise. People driving and walking to and from ELB's Newcomb Academy and in the El Dorado-adjacent neighborhood including Claremore and Val Verde Avenues have been navigating cones and dirt as sections of sidewalk (some recently installed) are removed...and it's coming to other selected LB neighborhoods.

    Verizon says the temporary inconvenience will be worth it...because the result will offer LB residents access to cutting-edge, high-speed, blazing fast mutli-media options.

    And the telecommunications giant adds -- and a City Hall-issued permit requires -- that the firm will replace the uprooted sidewalk sections and fix whatever else may have been affected before they're done.

    Verizon-hired contractors have been working their way up the coast from Huntington Beach through Seal Beach...and have now reached the eastern end of LB. They'll be moving through selected LB neighborhoods, removing and replacing squares of sidewalk and street to install conduit that will encase fiber-optic cable -- the size of a strand of hair -- which can carry enormous amounts of data at blistering speed via a beam of light.

    A Verizon information sheet available in tubes placed around the area tells readers the "Fiber to the Premises" project (FTTP) will enable the company to "provide customers with the highest-speed data services available anywhere (between 5 and 30 megabits per second) at competitive prices. This project will make possible advanced telecommuting, home-based business applications, multi-player gaming over the internet, fast photo, music downloads, and many other services."

    Only customers within Verizon service areas will have access to the FTTP service package (known as FiOS). Verizon's new fiber optic service will be optional (and customers who want to keep what they have can do so.)

    The flier listed a toll free number, which we dialed on Friday afternoon and reached a real live person (not voice mail). Verizon's Todd McMullins enthusiastically outlined in summary form just some of what fiber optic's superior bandwidth, clarity and capacity can will mean compared to traditional copper wires. By extending fiber optics to homes and small businesses, Verizon will be able to provide four independent phone lines, very (VERY) high speed internet accessibility plus and FiOS TV (full multi-channel television service that will basically compete with cable-television service).

    [ comment: Savvy readers will grasp that a new communications world is emerging in all this. LB's Charter cable is offering high speed internet service. Verizon is about to offer competing multi-channel television service with even higher speed internet service. Other firms are touting the internet as a way to make telephone calls. Still others are making the internet available wirelessly. It is becoming a digital world...and you're in the right place reading]

    Back at street level in the El Dorado area, it looked as if the contractor "blitzed" the area with dozens of workers, some breaking concrete, others digging or collecting debris with a small loader and still others replacing asphalt and concrete.

    Spools of orange tubing are visible on a trailer waiting to go underground.

    So what about restoring the uprooted sidewalks? "Our contractors are 100% responsible for restoring things to the way they were in the neighborhood. They'll put in new sidewalk and take care of any sprinkler heads or sod that may have been damaged in the process," Mr. McMullins said.

    Verizon's flier says construction activity will be in selected areas around town, completed in phases over the next several weeks. Mr. McMullins said the first neighborhoods selected for fiber optic installation are those in which customers "have been calling us left and right to get high speed internet service" where the company wanted to provide that service and in a few cases couldn't.

    "Generally, construction activity will take place in the public right-of-way...Existing underground cable pathways will be used whenever possible. Much of the construction takes place at curbs or under sidewalks," Verizon's flier says.

    It adds the company's goal is to minimize short-term traffic slowdowns, noise, dust and other inconveniences to residents. [Editor's note: Some children at Newcomb Academy say it was hard to hear their teacher over a jackhammer last week.]

    One sign of impending fiber optic work in your neighborhood is the distinctive set of color-coded markings that reveal underground electric, cable and telephone lines. The Verizon flier notes, "As required by state law, utility companies will mark the location of their underground utilities (with paint) prior to any underground work. This will be done to prevent any disruption of services. You will see these markings in your neighborhood shortly before work begins...The paint is designed to fade or wash away in a short period of time."

    Another indication of planned fiber optic work: door-hangers, alerting residents to the coming activity.

    And the number Verizon lists on its fliers for further info is: 877-483-4403.

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