Circle Fiber is building a fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) network using XGS-PON fiber technology from Nokia in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. The network, which is based upon Nokia’s Lightspan FX series technology, will deliver up to 10 Gbps speeds.
Circle Fiber, which is an operating unit of Big River Communications, said it is using funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Broadband ReConnect program to pay for the fiber network, which will connect approximately 125,000 homes, businesses, farms, schools, hospitals and government agencies in the area.
The high-capacity fiber network also will work in conjunction with Nokia’s Wi-Fi Mesh network. Nokia and Circle Fiber had previously deployed a fixed wireless LTE network in the area. The Wi-Fi mesh network will help provide additional coverage in areas where the fiber network is unable to reach.
Nokia says its XGS-PON technology will deliver 10 Gbps services today but is also future-proofed to deliver 25 Gbps.
AT&T has said it has started to deploy XGS-PON and launched its network delivering 1-Gig speeds on more than 40 U.S. cities last March. At the time, the company said that its long-term goal for its XGS-PON deployments was to reach 10 Gbps speeds.
USDA’s Broadband ReConnect Program
In March 2018 Congress provided $600 million to the USDA to expand broadband to rural America. In that first round, the USDA invested $698 million to bring high speed broadband to approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 small businesses and farms and more than 500 healthcare facilities in 33 states.
In April 2020, the second round of the USDA’s Broadband ReConnnect program received $1.57 billion in funding. The USDA said it received 172 applications.
Alaska’s GCI was also awarded Broadband ReConnect funding last October. The operator received $25 million to provide fiber service to the Aleutian communities. The project includes a long-haul subsea fiber system and is slated to be completed and in use by the end of 2022. The total cost of the project is $58 million with GCI kicking in $33 million to pay for the project costs not covered by the ReConnect grant.