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Rural providers dig into summer

The season is shaping up to be about network construction for many Independents.

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Summer is otherwise known as construction season in many parts of the U.S., and for Independent, rural telecom service providers, that means network construction. A number the indies have recently announced (see below) upgrade projects leading to new service features.

The efforts, some of which have been triggered by the awarding of broadband stimulus funds, may suggest that rural service providers are getting back to installing new gear in their networks after a year or so of relatively slow movement on that front, while many tried to figure out what broadband stimulus held in store for them. Rural service providers have also been wondering where minimum broadband speed requirements will end up for the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan.

Most of all, the movement may signify that these providers are feeling the need to respond to market demand and competitive dynamics in their regions -- and that any fears about regulatory uncertainty have to ultimately take a back seat to those more pressing realities.

A closer look at some recent deals:

-- Mankato, Minn.-based HickoryTech is deploying a multi-screen interactive IPTV platform from Nokia Siemens Networks, aimed at supporting personal video recording, faster channel changing, online applications and a potentially new wave of third-party applications. The platform uses NSN’s Interactive Markup Language toolkit.

-- Copper Valley Telephone Cooperative is deploying Adtran’s Total Access 5000 Multi-Service Access and Aggregation Platform, along with the Total Access 1124P OSP DSLAM as part of its rural broadband expansion in the geographically challenging Valdez/Copper River basin of Alaska. The telco said the system enables it to extend broadband capability about 70 miles from the nearest office and 85 kilofeet from the nearest commercial power source.

-- XIT Rural Telephone Cooperative, which is targeting underserved communities in Texas, won broadband stimulus award money, allowing it to deploy the Calix Unified Access system as part of its fiber network rollout. Calix said it has won deals from nine broadband stimulus grant winners worth a total of more than $100 million. XIT is planning to upgrade and expand broadband and video infrastructure in Dalhart and Stratford, Texas. The telco also has submitted an application for Round 2 stimulus award consideration.

-- Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech also had broadband stimulus funds figure in a recent deployment announcement. The company, working in western Kansas, will draw from a whopping grant of $101 million to deploy Occam Networks’ BLC 6000 multiservice access platform in 21 communities and 26 rural areas. Occam also recently won a deal with Hardee County, Fla.

-- Woodstock Telephone Co., which serves 1300 access lines in southwestern Minnesota, recently deployed Tellabs' 1150 Multiservice Access Platforms for a fiber-to-the-node project, and the vendor’s 1600-704 Indoor GPON ONT to support fiber to the desktop.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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