EarthLink completes Eastern Tennessee broadband project

EarthLink, Inc. (NASDAQ: ELNK) says it has concluded its Eastern Tennessee Middle Mile Fiber Broadband Project and completed a more than 500-mile fiber-optic network connecting previously underserved communities across the eastern part of the state. In all, EarthLink deployed 15 DWDM-capable points of presence (PoPs) in the state, from which it can provide long-haul DWDM service up to 10 Gbps, plus metro service in Nashville and Memphis.

EarthLink, Inc. (NASDAQ: ELNK) says it has concluded its Eastern Tennessee Middle Mile Fiber Broadband Project and completed a more than 500-mile fiber-optic network connecting previously underserved communities across the eastern part of the state. In all, EarthLink deployed 15 DWDM-capable points of presence (PoPs) in the state, from which it can provide long-haul DWDM service up to 10 Gbps, plus metro service in Nashville and Memphis.

EarthLink's Tennessee Broadband project was funded by $9.4 million in federal stimulus by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) through the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) to reach communities designated as underserved by Connected Tennessee – an independent non-profit organization that develops and implements effective strategies for technology deployment, use, and literacy in Tennessee.

With this new Eastern Tennessee network in place, EarthLink can now offer its full suite of IT and communications services to businesses and community anchor institutions in these previously underserved areas. EarthLink Carrier will also provide broadband interconnection to other carriers, including last-mile providers, at speeds up to 10 Gbps. Signed agreements are already in place between EarthLink and Morristown Fibernet for 1000 Mbps of dedicated Internet access and Twin Lakes Telephone Cooperative for a Gigabit Ethernet link for IP transport from Cookeville to Huntsville, AL.

Phase One of the network completion, announced in March 2011, included a 343-mile overbuild of an existing diverse fiber-optic route from Nashville to Knoxville, and the addition of a new diverse fiber-optic route from Knoxville to Chattanooga. The Phase Two network expansion, completed in June 2011, included deployment of a fiber-optic route from Knoxville to Bristol. POP sites along the route include Knoxville, Morristown, Johnson City, and Bristol. The final Phase Three of the project involved five network interconnection points including Cookeville, Oak Ridge, Cleveland, Sweetwater, and Morristown.

"For this traditionally underserved region of Tennessee, EarthLink's new broadband network will enable businesses and community organizations such as medical providers and schools to better serve their constituencies," said Jim O'Brien, EarthLink executive vice president of infrastructure engineering and operations. "Businesses of all sizes, as well as carrier and last-mile service providers, will benefit from improved access with broadband speeds up to 10 Gbps. We hope that access to this high-capacity network can serve as an engine for economic growth in the region."

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