Bluebird Network, a communications infrastructure provider and operator of more than 11,000 miles of fiber and two data centers, announced on February 21, 2024, that they had successfully completed work on a groundbreaking fiber optic river crossing beneath the iconic Mississippi River. This project serves as a pivotal development in the realm of telecommunications infrastructure, reinforcing Bluebird’s commitment to providing cutting-edge connectivity solutions for Midwest enterprises and protecting indigenous history.

The newly completed 3,500-foot fiber optic river crossing establishes a crucial link between the east bank of St. Louis and the west bank of Illinois. This boring project tapped 100 feet below the surface of the Mississippi River, a large scale project for the telecommunications industry as a whole. A major hyperscale social media company has already come on board with Bluebird following the project’s developments, citing the company’s reputation in the Midwest market and its capacity to maintain sovereignty over its fiber infrastructure.

Jamie Scott, Director of Outside Plant Engineering at Bluebird Network, emphasized the strategic advantages that network providers gain by controlling their fiber in both new and existing markets.

“It’s not only good for their business model and their shareholders, but also their users,” he stated in a recent press release. “I’m honored to be a part of this team and to be a part of a project of this scope. I’m really thrilled to be one of the many people responsible for pulling this together. We’re ready to tackle our next major project in building a new fiber route from St. Louis to Tulsa.”

Beyond the project’s technological achievements, it maintained commitment to upholding ethical and cultural considerations throughout its stages. A key focus during the project was to ensure the protection of indigenous rights and historical sites in the surrounding areas. Bluebird collaborated with geotechnical engineering firms, boring companies, splicing and data contractors, and archaeologists, to complete comprehensive investigations to prevent any destruction of indigenous history around the boring site.

Michael Morey, President and CEO of Bluebird Network, spoke on the significance of this crossing, which offers diversity and redundancy while maintaining history and avoiding complications posed by running fiber across rivers.

“This type of alternative underground crossing is something that sets Bluebird apart from our competition,” he said. “Supporting customers in accomplishing their endeavors is something we’re very proud to offer.”

The completion of this project not only positions Bluebird Network as a provider capable of executing complex and innovative ventures but also showcases the company’s ability to deliver high-quality services for some of the largest communications and technology firms globally.

As part of its broader initiatives, Bluebird is set to unveil a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grant-supported long-haul route connecting St. Louis and Tulsa in the coming weeks. This route, designed to accommodate the future needs of the industry, boasts substantial fiber capacity between major metros. While the exact fiber capacity remains undisclosed, Bluebird emphasizes that it is designed with scalability and future growth in mind.

Additionally, this river crossing not only creates a new fiber pathway between St. Louis and Illinois, but also facilitates enhanced connectivity into underserved areas across both Missouri and Oklahoma along this route. The project fortifies connectivity into the Bluebird Underground Data Center in Springfield, MO, contributing to the region’s digital infrastructure and supporting the evolving needs of businesses and communities.

In the ever-evolving landscape of telecommunications, Bluebird Network continues to lead the way by demonstrating its commitment to innovation, reliability, and community values. The completion of the fiber optic river crossing beneath the Mississippi River stands as a testament to Bluebird’s dedication to pushing boundaries, fostering connectivity, and shaping the future of telecommunications in the Midwest.

For further details about Bluebird Network’s extensive infrastructure and commitment to connectivity excellence, visit Bluebird Network.