Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech employs Occam for $101 million broadband stimulus project

Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech, a service provider serving rural central and western Kansas that won $101 million in combined Broadband Initiative Program (BIP) grants, has tapped Occam Networks (Nasdaq: OCNW) for its Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network rollout.

Covering 21 communities and 26 rural areas over 4,600 square miles, Rural Telephone's new broadband network will reach 23,000 homes and businesses through a combination of FTTH and WiMAX in both its ILEC and CLEC regions. In addition, Rural Telephone will extend fiber-based capabilities to 335 anchor institutions including schools, libraries and hospitals.

What's perhaps most compelling about the deployment is the advanced timeline it set to complete the project. While other larger service providers are just talking about their plans, Rural Telephone/Nex-Tech aims to have its project completed over the course of just three years.

"Rural Telephone obviously had some history with the RUS and the government programs so for them the stimulus opportunity was a way for them to accelerate their vision of what they were trying to achieve," said Juan Vela, Director, Solutions Marketing and Strategy for Occam Networks in an interview with FierceTelecom. "They had a 10 year plan for themselves to bring fiber to as many homes as they could serve as possible. They think they can complete this project in three years, which is the time the ARRA legislation had mandated these projects be completed."

In addition to its win with Rural Telco, Occam says it has interest to deploy its last mile equipment from a number of service providers that have been awarded broadband stimulus funding. Although he could not discuss any projects publicly, Vela did reveal that while does see some DSL-based stimulus projects, the majority of them are fiber-based. "We've seen lot of interest in Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) technologies in general for stimulus projects," Vela said. "Of the broadband stimulus projects we are tracking with our existing customers, the bulk of them are with fiber, while only a handful of the projects are DSL-based."

Plowing fiber in Kansas

Vela added that in because large incumbent carriers entered into round two of the broadband stimulus game, DSL will have more of a presence in broadband stimulus projects. "In round two because of with Qwest (NYSE: Q), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), DSL will have a bigger impact, but I don't see the Tier 3 carriers like Rural Telephone abandoning their desire for FTTH."  

(Photo: Plowing fiber optic cable in northwest Kansas. SOURCE: BusinessWire)

For more:
- see the release

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