Great Plains Energy, Inc. (ticker: GXP, exchange: New York Stock Exchange (.N))
News Release -
Westplains Fiber Optic Service For Pueblo County Designed To Improve Communications and Bolster Economic Development For Area
PUEBLO, CO, January 20, 2000 -- WestPlains Ventures, Inc., a nonregulated affiliate of WestPlains Energy, will launch its first community-wide fiber optic network project in Colorado for Pueblo County, officials announced today.
The network is expected to significantly enhance high-speed telecommunications between the county's downtown office complex and the industrial park located at the Pueblo Memorial Airport, according to Jerry Carleo, chief technology officer for Pueblo County. The network will also provide a solid foundation to build high-tech economic development efforts in the industrial park and the surrounding region.
"The initial phase of the project will create a network backbone that can easily be expanded for commercial services in the adjacent industrial park," said Carleo. "Currently, the lack of accessible fiber optic cable in Pueblo is hampering high-tech economic development, distance education and tele-medicine services in southern Colorado - this project addresses those issues."
The network design being deployed by WestPlains Ventures provides for expansion of key telecommunications services in medical, education, law enforcement, and other public agencies. In addition, the network will support the distribution of value added services such as satellite downlink broadcasts, video conferencing, and related services, many of which are now available to the southern Colorado region from Pueblo Community College, University of Southern Colorado, and Pueblo School District 60.
"Optical fiber cabling is a glass tube which is about the size of a human hair through which a laser light is transmitted and converted into an electrical impulse using the customers' computer transmission equipment," said Ron Reckrodt, asset manager for WestPlains Energy. "Fiber optic cable has the capacity to carry hundreds of times more information than the standard copper wire typically used for traditional telephone lines."
Planned future expansion of the WestPlains Ventures network service into the Pueblo industrial park, and other key sites throughout the city, provides businesses with powerful, competitively priced alternatives for high-speed data communications, according to Roger Kort, WestPlains director of economic development. These include call centers and other data-intensive functions such as those used by engineers and surveyors for graphical computer representations that are dependent upon high-speed, high-bandwidth communications services in order to operate effectively.
Beginning in February, approximately nine miles of fiber optic cable will be installed between the downtown offices of Pueblo County to the industrial park located at the Pueblo Memorial airport.
The project marks the first time that UtiliCorp United, WestPlains parent company, has installed fiber optics in Colorado for commercial and government purposes.
Through its WestPlains Energy division, UtiliCorp provides electric service to approximately 80,000 customers in Colorado. In addition, UtiliCorp's Peoples Natural Gas division services about 41,000 customers in the state. UtiliCorp, based in Kansas City, provides energy services to approximately 4.5 million customers across the U.S. and in Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.