The Douglas County Community Network (DCCN) is an ultra-high-speed, broadband network originally designed for Douglas County PUD’s electric system. The network includes hundreds of miles of fiber-optic cables lit by cutting-edge Ethernet network equipment. This network enables Douglas PUD to safely and effectively monitor and control its electric system. As an added benefit to the customer owners of Douglas PUD, the DCCN makes available high speed broadband services such as Internet access, Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), and Voice over IP (VoIP) to residents, businesses, and government agencies throughout Douglas County. The network also interconnects with many regional network providers as well as adjacent PUD networks, connecting Douglas County to the world.
Because the DCCN was designed using cutting-edge Ethernet technology, it is able to offer speeds far in excess of broadband technologies such as cable and DSL. Ethernet is the native data format for all personal computers currently on the market. This means the data doesn’t need to be converted in order to traverse the network, reducing the time required to travel from source to destination. Because of this, applications such as online gaming are much more responsive, and next generation services such as IPTV and VoIP are possible. Ethernet also offers bandwidth of up to 1,000Mbps, which makes downloading content from the Internet very fast for DCCN end users.
By focusing intently on delivering reliable broadband at the fastest possible speeds for the lowest possible cost, the DCCN team has been able to reduce construction costs significantly since construction began in 1999. One way costs were reduced was to bring fiber to the transformer instead of all the way to the home. A category 5 cable (cat5) is installed from the transformer to the homes or businesses served by that transformer. This reduced fiber optic cabling by 75% and significantly reduced the amount of equipment necessary to serve each end user without diminishing connection speeds.
In areas where wired connections aren’t feasible, such as much of the Waterville Plateau, the DCCN offers wireless broadband. While wireless broadband currently offers less bandwidth than hardwired connections, it is far better than satellite or dial up connections that would otherwise be the only available options.