Cache County's business, education and government leaders breathed a collective sigh of relief after learning their area would be included in US WEST's proposed statewide fiber optics network.

The company's original plan was to run the high-grade line from Brigham City to Cedar City and supplement the existing digital microwave system between Brigham City and Logan."We were about to become telecommunications landlocked," said Cache Economic Development Director Bobbie Coray, who lobbied the company for the more modern telecommunications network.

"By being taken off the state-of-the-art telecommunications, it would have been a significant problem for a community our size with our many technology-based businesses," Coray said.

Laura Scholl, public relations director for US WEST, announced at a meeting of the state Science Council at Utah State University Friday that Cache Valley would be included in the company's plans to upgrade.

"Logan has been growing faster than we realized and another reason for our revised plan is the success of Utah State University in getting research grants, which have increased the demand for the cable," she said.

USU Provost Karen Morse said if the company had not included Cache County in its proposal, the university planned to look elsewhere to bring similar kinds of data-carrying capabilities to the area.

"We have over $80 million in research and we can't wait five to seven years for US WEST to bring us what we need in telecommunications," she said.

Scholl said the advantage of using fiber optic technology instead of existing copper transmission lines is that voice, data and video signals can be sent faster and with higher quality.

She said US WEST's plan will go before the Utah Public Service commission in December.