Comptel 2010: RCN gets ready to build Open Cape Network

With $32 million of broadband stimulus money in hand, OpenCape Corp. is sticking with its gentleman's agreement to let RCN Metro Optical Networks build out and manage its 350-mile hybrid fiber and microwave-based open access middle mile network.

Set to be completed in phases over three years, the OpenCape network will serve Southern Massachusetts and the Cape Cod region in a public-private partnership. OpenCape will offer a plethora of services including dedicated point-to-point SONET and Ethernet with speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 10 Gbps, wavelength services from 1.25 Mbps to 10 Gbps, and basic Internet access. Upon completion, any local government agency, public safety, business, school and library that resides in the Cape Cod area will be able to access the network.

"When we first conceived this project, we knew we needed to identify an experienced private operating partner to perform the complex technical network construction and operation," said Dan Gallagher, President of OpenCape Corporation in a release. "RCN Metro emerged as the ideal partner for this project based on their deep experience designing, building and operating highly successful middle mile networks."

OpenCape's broadband stimulus award is yet another example of the ongoing emphasis on the middle mile network. The company joins a cast of other traditional wholesalers (Level 3), state networks (North Carolina Research and Education Network) and even smaller independently-operated network providers (ION) that have won broadband stimulus awards. Middle mile providers' drive for funding has not come without its own share of controversy, however. Although arguing their networks are complementary, Maine's three-ring binder middle mile network and ION were met with protests from area incumbent telephone operators and cable companies who argued these new providers were leveraging government funds to overbuild into territories that had good broadband and wholesale fiber capabilities.  

For more:
- see the release here

Related articles
Mass.-based OpenCape wins $32 million broadband grant
Massachusetts government backs three public broadband projects
Middle mile providers: Complementary, not competitive
FierceTelecom 2010 Prediction: Middle mile march
Bridging the rural telco middle mile divide
RCN Metro, OpenCape to build open access network

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