Alma Communications chooses TelStrat for GPON gear

JANUARY 16, 2007 -- During the final few weeks of 2006, Alma Communications Co. replaced its aging copper access network with a new architecture based on TelStrat's Inteleflex 2.4 GPON products.

JANUARY 16, 2007 -- During the final few weeks of 2006, Alma Communications Co. replaced its aging copper access network with a new architecture based on TelStrat's (search for TelStrat) Inteleflex 2.4 GPON products.

Founded in 1912 in Alma, MO, Alma Communications provides voice and data services to over 350 subscribers in the town of Alma and the surrounding farming community. The independent telephone provider worked closely with TelStrat and Finley Engineering to complete an entire rebuild of its 80-sq-mi access network. One of the first in the United States with 100% 2.4-Gbit/sec GPON technology, Alma's new access network combines the Inteleflex BLC platform with TelStrat's new 2.4 GPON optical line terminal (OLT) cards and new modular, expandable, standards-based optical network terminals (ONTs).

"We went with GPON because we didn't want to maintain active electronics in the field," explained Andy Heins, general manager for Alma Communications. "We were on the cusp of 2.4 GPON availability and we elected to go with the newest breed of GPON. TelStrat's Inteleflex allowed us to easily transition from a copper infrastructure to fiber and provides the most advanced PON technology available today."

TelStrat describes its Inteleflex as a completely integrated, multi-service access platform, with POTS-to-PON flexibility that seamlessly supports everything from copper legacy systems to 2.4-Gbit/sec GPON FTTP capabilities. The platform is designed to provide a seamless path to an all-IP, all-optical future.

Having last reworked its access network in 1972, Alma faced a daunting challenge. "We knew it was going to be a very tough endeavor for a small company to completely overbuild the entire exchange in less than a year," Heins stated. "TelStrat put their resources at our disposal, as we needed them, to resolve issues and to assist with installation in the timeframe we needed."

Finley Engineering Company Inc., which handled Alma's 1972 copper-based access network upgrade, was again chosen to design and project manage the optical rebuild. "Alma's copper plant had exhausted its useful life," said Larry Fausett, vice president for Finley. "This network needed to be a solution that would meet Alma's needs and goals for many years to come."

The Finley team also worked closely with TelStrat to meet the 2.4 GPON cutover schedule's ambitious goals. "TelStrat worked hard to meet deadlines and help us get everything in service by year's end," said Fausett. He also appreciated the flexibility that TelStrat's equipment provided, saying, "One thing that's unique to TelStrat's Inteleflex is that you can put a 2.4 GPON card right next to any other service card in a remote or central office shelf."

Alma's Andy Heins is very happy with the end result. "There is a lot of new technology happening out there that could change a whole lot of perspectives down the road. More services are becoming a 'pull' due to consumer technology and customer demand," he said. "We now have a network across the entire exchange where we can still provide traditional voice service, but also broadband access services which aren't limited by distance. The only limit is the customer's imagination."

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