CenturyLink/AT&T Upgrading Fiber Lines

Valley City residents may have recently seen people wearing vests walking down boulevards swinging a long slender electronic device back and forth, periodically digging a small hole and placing tiny pennants in the ground.

Valley City City Administrator David Schelkoph said Thursday the workers are involved in several projects, including setting distances for new street markings and doing preparation work for planned phone company upgrades to fiber optics in Valley City.

The CenturyLink company is adding fiber optics lines in Valley City, said Carrie Amann, development manager for the company in outstate Minnesota and North Dakota.

Amann said Thursday CenturyLink is currently working on a project replacing fiber optics lines to a couple of AT&T cell phone towers.

“It will allow us to launch more services in the future. It will allow us to extend our reach and broadband Internet speed in Valley City” and the surrounding area, Amann said.

Amann said, “CenturyLink is placing fiber to a couple of AT&T cell towers (one in town and one on the outskirts of town). This project will better position CenturyLink for launching future broadband services including speed upgrades and extending our reach to more customers.”

The CenturyLink company recently purchased long-time Valley City landline phone company Qwest, and non-cellular telephone service in Valley City is now being provided under the new name.

Valley City employee Stan Hanson, an electrical supervisor for the city, said Friday the new line will allow AT&T to provide better 4G cellular service for its customers.

The term 4G means the fourth generation of cell phone mobile communications standards. It is a successor of the third generation (3G) standards. A 4G system provides mobile ultra-broadband Internet access, for example to laptops with USB wireless modems, to smartphones, and to other mobile devices.

AT&T spokesman Alex Carey said Friday the work will allow AT&T to operate its network in Valley City supporting more data “to ensure our customers receive a strong network experience.”

Carey said AT&T is both upgrading its site capacity (at the cell towers) and what it calls “back haul capacity.” Carey said by upgrading to fiber, the back haul capacity is expanded, allowing service in Valley City to be upgraded to 4G.

“We (Valley City) approved the route for them,” Hanson said.

Hanson said the line will run from the Valley City CenturyLink operation to an AT&T cell phone tower near the Sheyenne Valley Area Career and Technology Center.

Hanson said the route the line will follow includes Central Avenue, Third Avenue South, across the Third Avenue bridge and College Street.