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Vidalia IT building nears completion
from The Concordia Sentinel
August 10, 2017 -

Completion of the Vidalia Technology Center is nearing, City of Vidalia IT Director Bobby Paul said this week. Work to move workers and furnishings into the building is underway. The facility is located on the site where the old Vidalia City Hall once stood. The building will house a business incubator and the head end room for the fiber optics that will eventually give businesses and residents of Vidalia access to high speed Internet.

Presently, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Concordia Parish Courthouse, Vidalia schools, a pharmacy, three banks and Wilmar Construction have fiber optics.

Seventy percent of the fiber optic cables will be above ground from pole to pole while 30 percent will be underground. Underground cables are four times as expensive as above ground, according to Paul.

“We are getting the fibers built as quickly as we can, but we are being careful not to make any mistakes,” Paul said.

Along with faster and more reliable Internet service, another benefit of fibers optics is the automated meter reading for each house in Vidalia. This will cut down on man-hours and give a more accurate account of utility use.

Paul is aiming for the year 2020 to be completely done with building and running the fibers throughout Vidalia.

For those wanting to start a small business, the business incubator will give them access to a fax, copier, scanner and a privacy suite. A fee will be charged to the business owner. This fee will be based on the size of his or her business.

A specific date for the “first day of business” for the incubator has not been set but that will be one of the topics of discussion at the Advisory Board meeting August 16, Heather Malone, Executive Director of the Concordia Parish Economic Development District said.

“We plan to hold an open house this fall to kickoff the program,” she said.

The current set up in the business incubator can hold up to seven different businesses but could expand to 15, Malone said.

“I think the business incubator will offer a resource to entrepreneurs who are not quite ready to quit their day jobs, but want to explore their business ideas.” Malone said.  “That’s who we are targeting.  We can help guide and grow their business ideas to a point where they can go out on their own and be successful.”

A member of the incubator will be required to meet with the advisory committee and report the member’s activity to the committee.  The committee will provide expertise in a variety of areas to help guide them to success.  The member will be encouraged to stay in the incubator until the committee is confident that the business can be successful on his or her own. 

The ultimate goal of the incubator is to stimulate the local entrepreneurial environment develop successful small businesses in the Miss-Lou. The space provided is a “co-working environment geared toward e-commerce and technology related startups.”

Malone said the spaces were designed to encourage members and tenants to discuss their business with other entrepreneurs and bounce ideas off of each other.


Story from the Concordia Sentinel.


They plan to work with the Concordia Chamber and the Concordia Parish Library to compliment the business training programs they are already offering. Malone plans to also work with Natchez Inc and Alcorn State University to deliver the Entrepreneur Academy to the members of the Vidalia Incubator.

“We are excited to partner with all of these organizations to assist with small business development,” she said.

Paul said the fiber optics would start in the head end room of the IT Center that is closed off to everything else due to the sensitivity of the equipment. 

Fiber optics work by sending coded information in a beam of light down a glass or plastic pipe.

As fibers are built, customers will begin to come on line around Vidalia, Paul said. Paul and two other people are currently building the fibers.

Fiber-optic cables carry information between two places using entirely optical (light-based) technology. Light travels down the fiber optic cable by bouncing off the walls in a shallow angle. It reflects back in again as though the walls were a mirror.

This process is call total internal reflection. The structure of the cable is another factor that keeps light in the pipe. The cable is made up of two separate parts. The main part of the cable, located in the middle, is called the core.

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