Shawnee Telephone selects Zhone for RUS-funded broadband stimulus project

SEPTEMBER 6, 2010 -- Zhone Technologies, Inc. says that broadband stimulus award winner Shawnee Telephone Co. has selected its multi-service access node (MSANs) for support of the Southern Illinois Sustainable Broadband Transformation project.

Sep 7th, 2010

SEPTEMBER 6, 2010 -- Zhone Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZHNE) says that broadband stimulus award winner Shawnee Telephone Co. has selected its multi-service access node (MSANs) for support of the Southern Illinois Sustainable Broadband Transformation project.

Shawnee was awarded $8.5 million in federal and state funds to connect 1,209 households; 438 businesses; and 35 public schools, libraries, law enforcement offices, and medical facilities in one of the nation’s most remote and underserved regions. Long distances and a geographically dispersed population have posed ongoing challenges in bringing broadband access to the 90 Illinois communities that compose Shawnee, one of the largest and most remote contiguous service areas in southern Illinois.

By using Zhone’s MSAN platform, Shawnee can use a combination of broadband technologies including GPON and ADSL2+ to more cost-effectively provide equal opportunity high-speed access to even the most rural locations, Zhone asserts.

Slated to begin this month, the Southern Illinois Sustainable Broadband Transformation project will provide direct employment for nearly 100 people in an area with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates. Fiber connectivity will enable local school and community college systems to provide online learning and additional college preparatory classes in a move to permanently bolster opportunity and economic advantages for the region. Shawnee has also proposed free access to personal computers and training to further bridge the opportunity divide for low income residents.

“Zhone’s single-platform, multi-service approach to broadband access provisioning provides both the flexibility and service scalability required for the success and ongoing growth of this project,” said Mike Grisham, controller for Shawnee Telephone. “Zhone is consistently responsive in helping us meet the unique challenges in rural service provisioning, both in upfront equipment value and by significantly lower ownership costs over the long term.”

The Southern Illinois Sustainable Broadband Transformation project was awarded $7.35 million in grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility and $1 million in matching funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

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