By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor
Tenants at the Mojave Air and Space Port will have access to broadband fiber services beginning in December. In a related move, officials are moving forward with a plan to extend broadband, power and water utilities to the test area on the north side of the spaceport, where there are currently no services.
Jim Miller, CEO of High Desert Wireless Broadband Communications (HDWBC), told the East Kern Airport District (EKAD) Board of Directors on Tuesday that the airport’s broadband network has been connected to a main fiber line running out from Los Angeles. Several clients have been provided service, and HDWBC and its partner, Race Communications, are using them for a 30-day testing period.
Once the tests are completed successfully, the companies will be able to offer full broadband services to airport offices and nearly 70 tenants, Miller said. He expects that services will be offered at the beginning of December.
“Mojave has a[n online] presence just like we were sitting at 1 Wilshire in Los Angeles,” said Miller, referring to a major Internet hub about 90 miles south of the desert spaceport.
Miller added that the companies have an application in to the California Public Utilities Commission, which has funded some of the broadband extension work, to provide services to the towns of Mojave and Boron. The commission helps to fund the expansion of Internet to under-served communities.
In a related move, the airport has decided to extend broadband, power and water services to the north side of the airport, said Mojave Spaceport CEO Stu Witt. Officials met with representatives from Southern California Edison to discuss the project last week, and the parties will meet again on Friday. Witt said he hopes the utility company will provide an estimate for the work in time for the next EKAD board meeting on Nov. 20.
Witt said there are four tenants ready to hook up to all three services immediately. One tenant has an immediate need for high-speed broadband services.
The north side of the airport includes the Mojave boneyard, where aircraft are recycled, as well as rocket test facilities. Airport tenants that use this area include Scaled Composites, XCOR Aerospace, Firestar Technologies, Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic and Interorbital Systems.
Witt has stated in the past that providing utilities to the north side could create about 50 new jobs at the airport.