June 15, 2004 Spartanburg, SC -- Alcoa's AFL Telecommunications has been chosen by e-Polk, a community-owned non-profit corporation, to initiate North Carolina's first passive optical networking (PON) deployment, known as the PANGAEA network. AFL provided the network backbone, including fiber-optic cable and Ethernet PON (EPON) equipment.
With the focus of connectivity in larger cities around the United States, less populated areas like Polk County are seeking solutions to high-speed Internet access. Many larger carriers target business-dense areas, leaving rural communities like Polk County in need of an effective solution to keep up with the changing technology while remaining affordable for its customer base.
AFL's EPON system answered these concerns, say e-Polk representatives. Consisting of Optical Line Terminal (OLT) and Optical Network Unit (ONU) equipment, the EPON product family offers an attractive "last-mile" solution for Fiber-to-the-Subscriber (FTTx) projects. With low cost of entry, EPON brought fiber to Polk County with rapid cost recovery, scalability, and versatility.
"AFL Telecommunications is very pleased to be part of the e-Polk vision and PANGAEA network," contends Kent Brown, access solutions director for AFL Telecommunications. "The e-Polk initiative is a shining example of how local communities can come together to create a next-generation FTTx network," he adds.
All municipal locations in Polk County are on the network, which connects businesses, schools and colleges, and the downtown corridor, including some homes. Working with an Internet Service Provider in Greenville, SC, that has a direct link to Atlanta, and then linking to Tryon Peak, the new fiber-optic backbone delivers speed, flexibility, capacity, reliability, and, most importantly, affordability.
"The EPON solution turned out to be a slam-dunk for PANGAEA, given our goals for the project," reports Ken Rossen, executive director of e-Polk Inc. "We are not a community of large industries, and bringing the advanced capabilities of PANGAEA fiber to our mix of merchants, cultural organizations, and small technical entrepreneurs could have faced a huge affordability challenge. Instead, we are providing a remarkable level of Internet capacity to these subscribers at prices they otherwise wouldn't see outside of metropolitan areas. It really helps level the playing field," he asserts.
Guided by North Carolina's statewide e-NC project, a $30 million dollar initiative to improve capacity, affordability, speed, and reliability of Internet service in rural North Carolina, Polk County citizens raised approximately $400,000 in charitable grants and community investment funds to build PANGAEA. The project is being administered by e-Polk Inc., a local non-profit organization that is bringing access to rural communities, bridging the digital divide.