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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Landmark Agreement for Regional Fiber Optic Network becomes a National Model for Rural Development

Frontier, NESC and Senator Al Franken at our Groundbreaking in April (Jeff Frey Photo)
The title says "landmark" but this is a personal story.  All big things start with personal stories.

I first met Frontier's Kirk Lehman almost a year and a half ago - May 12, 2010 to be exact - at a presentation for telecommunications carriers interested in learning more about the Northeast Middle Mile Fiber Project.  Kirk's energy was contagious as he approached our technology guru Lyle MacVey and me after the meeting with a simple proposition: "Given what I'm hearing, I think we can make something happen." 

That day, Kirk and his team were among the last to leave.  I cannot recall the details of our conversation but I do recall how intrigued they were at the thought of creating a region-wide, public-private partnership within the competitive world of telecommunications.  That launched a series of off-line discussions mostly between Kirk on behalf of Frontier and Lyle on behalf of NESC. 

For the most part, these discussions moved along as they often do in a development project - slowly at first with ever-deepening dialog - as Kirk involved his team, up and down the ladder, and we remained in touch while going about the business of building a new network.  Fortunately, despite the complexities of planning, engineering, business models, legal review and relationship-building, Kirk and his team never wavered, Lyle and our team never faltered, and together we prevailed with a final agreement between NESC and Frontier that is now complete.

We have many people to thank as this world-class fiber connectivity project literally takes root. But today we are thankful for singular moments that transform themselves into big things simply because someone not only had a vision but had the clarity and commitment to carry that vision through to completion.

Thank you, Kirk. Thank you, Frontier!

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