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DRG Brings Presque Isle Electric & Gas Members One Step Closer to Broadband Internet Access

Presque Isle Electric & Gas

DRG performed a full-system inventory for PIEG to jumpstart the utility’s fiber to the home project.

 

The Challenge

Access to the internet has become essential within the last 20 years. From school to work to entertainment, most daily life revolves around a connection to the internet. But receiving fast and reliable internet connections is still a struggle for rural communities.

Presque Isle Electric & Gas (PIEG) has served nine counties throughout northeastern Michigan since 1937. Located on the shores of Lake Huron, PIEG’s service area is known for its maritime history and scenic farmlands. PIEG wanted to upgrade infrastructure to provide its 30,800 members with reliable, high-speed broadband internet through a fiber to the home (FTTH) project. A comprehensive inventory of a utility’s infrastructure is the critical first step to successful FTTH projects. PIEG needed to find a way to quickly gather accurate system data to achieve its broadband goals.

The Solution

PIEG first connected with Davey Resource Group (DRG) through their request for proposal (RFP) process. DRG’s response included collecting the information and syncing the data at the end of each day to PIEG’s Mapwise maps, a software DRG was knowledgeable of thanks to its alignment with its proprietor, the National Information Solutions Cooperative. Other approaches would have required a third-party upload process, incurring more cost and time. In May 2021, PIEG worked with DRG’s boots-on-the-ground crews to inventory the poles, service points, structures, and transformers throughout 9 counties in northeastern Michigan.

By August 2022, DRG had mapped 88,661 service points and structures, including around 56,152 poles and 15,160 transformers. The inventory will be complete by the end of 2022.

The Results

DRG’s quick data collection and comprehensive mapping lay the groundwork for PIEG to get started on the make-ready engineering portion of its fiber-to-the-home project, which will determine how to include new telecommunication line attachments to poles safely. Once the MRE is complete, PIEG will be able to start fiber line construction. The FTTH project is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Not only will the inventory data from DRG help PIEG reach its broadband goals, but the accurate system information will also be vital for storm response efforts and prioritizing other routine maintenance projects.

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