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Merit Network selects Earthcom, Inc. as Outside Plant Construction Vendor for First Phase of REACH-3MC

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Merit Network, Inc. has selected Earthcom, Inc. as Outside Plant (OSP) Construction vendor for the first phase of Merit’s broadband stimulus project, REACH-3MC. Earthcom was selected from a number of qualified vendors that responded to a Request for Proposal (RFP) Merit issued in late August. Earthcom is the first of many construction vendors that will contribute to the completion of REACH-3MC.
REACH-3MC and ARRA logos
The Merit team’s thorough review of all RFPs showed that Earthcom could deliver a solution to meet the specific needs of the first phase of Outside Plant Construction for REACH-3MC.

“Earthcom has an experienced local team headquartered in Lansing, Michigan,” said Pete Miller, Merit’s director of network engineering and operations. “Earthcom is uniquely positioned to assist Merit in successfully deploying the network infrastructure in support of REACH-3MC – particularly the underground portions of the infrastructure.”

The first phase of construction will involve blowing new fiber through 21 miles of existing, buried conduit that REACH-3MC purchased from Manistee Intermediate School District. Additionally, splice enclosures and hand holes will be constructed. Earthcom’s expertise in underground construction will prove to be an asset as construction vendor for this phase of the project.

Earthcom, Inc. will participate in the first phase of REACH-3MC project construction. Additional contractors will be named to construct network segments in other parts of the state.

“This one small project will add six new employees to our team in addition it has created jobs for material providers, trucking companies, and the local area merchants,” said Peter Bertsch, President and CEO of Earthcom, Inc. “It is a great feeling to know we will be a small part of Michigan’s recovery.”

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc., is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan’s public universities. Merit owns and operates America’s longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan’s public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained at the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan’s public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

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The REACH Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative (REACH-3MC) will build 2,287 miles of open-access, advanced fiber-optic network through rural and underserved communities in Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The network will also provide backhaul to key connection points in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Led by Merit Network, Michigan’s research and education network, REACH-3MC includes sub-recipients from the private sector to make broadband readily available to households and businesses that lack adequate service options in the 52 counties that make up the project service area. REACH-3MC is funded by a two grants (Round I and Round II) from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), commonly referenced as the Stimulus Package.

About Earthcom, Inc.

Earthcom, Inc. is a Lansing, Michigan based corporation with roughly 50 employees. Started in 1999, the company specializes in communication construction including outside plant and wireless applications.

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