Bluebird Network wraps new Mississippi River fiber crossing

Feb. 22, 2024
The new fiber route will provide greater diversity and redundancy to Midwest enterprises.

Bluebird Network has wrapped construction of a new 3,500-foot fiber river crossing 100 feet below the Mississippi River, connecting the west bank of St. Louis and the east bank of Illinois.

Already, the route has gotten the attention of a large hyperscaler and social media company. This company said it decided to partner with Bluebird Network because of its growing presence in the Midwest market and the fact that it owns its fiber network.

Owning its network allows Bluebird to have greater oversight of network performance. “Network providers have a distinct advantage when controlling their fiber in a new or existing market,” said Jamie Scott, Director of Outside Plant Engineering at Bluebird Network. “It’s not only good for their business model and their shareholders, but also their users.”

They were getting the build done not only required that it would not compromise the area’s indigenous history. Bluebird partnered with geotechnical engineering firms specializing in long-distance bores, boring companies, splicing and data contractors, and archaeologists to ensure there was no destruction of the indigenous history in the area around the boring site.

A vital element of the new build is scale.

Bluebird’s forthcoming National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grant-supported long-haul route connecting St. Louis and Tulsa is designed to accommodate future industry needs with high fiber capacity between major metros. While Bluebird has not revealed the total fiber capacity of the project, the company said the far-reaching network can accommodate current and future needs, including carrier customers and data center operators.

The build will create a new fiber pathway between the cities, enable connectivity into underserved areas across Missouri and Oklahoma along this route, and fortify connectivity into the Bluebird Underground Data Center in Springfield, MO.

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