Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech selects Occam Networks for $101M broadband stimulus project

JUNE 8, 2010 By Stephen Hardy -- Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech, winner of the largest grant and loan combination in the first round of awards within the Rural Utility Service’s Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), will base its FTTH network buildout on the BLC 6000 multiservice access platform (MSAP) from Occam Networks Inc.

JUNE 8, 2010 By Stephen Hardy -- Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech, winner of the largest grant and loan combination in the first round of awards within the Rural Utility Service’s Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), will base its FTTH network buildout on the BLC 6000 multiservice access platform (MSAP) from Occam Networks Inc. (Nasdaq:OCNW).

Rural Telephone received a $49.6 million grant and a matching $51.6 million loan from the BIP (see “Fiber dominates latest US rural broadband stimulus funds release”). The $101.2 million will be used to deliver broadband services into 21 communities and 26 rural areas across more than 4,600 square miles, mainly in western Kansas. According to Occam Networks Director, Solutions Marketing and Strategy Juan Vela, the carrier’s will complement its existing GPON infrastructure with new Active Ethernet-based FTTH capabilities. The carrier will complement these technologies with WiMAX in areas where laying fiber doesn’t make sense, he adds.

Vela says that Rural Telephone’s selection of Active Ethernet is typical of the broadband stimulus projects in which Occam Networks is involved. Most of Occam’s rural broadband stimulus customers find Active Ethernet more economical than GPON in the low-density areas they serve, he explains.

Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech, based in Lenora, KS, plans to reach 23,000 households and businesses with its new broadband infrastructure. The new network will also provide 1-Gbps capabilities to 335 anchor institutions, including schools, libraries, and hospitals. The BIP funding will pay for infrastructure, construction, labor, and electronics over the course of three years.

Occam will deliver its BLC 6312 and BLC 6316 for the deployment. Rural Telephone will install the company’s ON 2364 Gigabit Ethernet ONTs at the anchor institutions and ON 2342 Gigabit Ethernet ONTs at residences.

“Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech is a prime example of an operator working to help meet the goal of the National Broadband Plan to provide 100-Mbps speeds to 100 million homes by 2020,” said Teresa Mastrangelo, principal analyst at Broadbandtrends. “Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech and Occam’s commitment to helping achieve this goal and doing so in a fraction of the time, sets a benchmark for other service providers who are striving to meet the goals of the plan and helping their customers leverage some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country.”

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