Tower Cloud brings fiber reach into South Georgia

Dallas -- Tower Cloud, an alternative wireless backhaul specialist, on Tuesday announced that it completed a 1,225 route network serving the I-75 corridor in South Georgia.

With this latest network buildout, Tower Cloud said it will be able to address a number of major markets between Macon and Valdosta, including extensions to Thomasville, Waycross and other rural markets in the state.

Initially, the new South Georgia network will serve as a backbone for 13 fiber rings and support over 300 cell sites stretching from Thomasville to the west and Waycross to the east. In addition, the regional network includes five new metro markets of Americus, Thomasville, Tifton, Valdosta and Waycross. 

With this buildout complete, Tower Cloud now serves 14 markets in the Southeast.

George Townsend, Senior Vice President of Business Development for Tower Cloud, said in an interview with FierceTelecom that he's seeing continual demand for wireless backhaul in the rural markets it has been targeting.

"In all of these rural markets we're serving in Georgia, we have 1,225 route miles and we have about 300 cell towers with multiple wireless operators we're going to be serving," he said. "We're starting to really see the bandwidth grow. When we first won the award it was 50 Meg and it will be 100-plus by the time we turn it up."

Townsend added that "because there are less cell towers in the rural markets, we see higher demand than we see in the metro markets that are more densely built."  

As it has done with other network build outs in its territory, Tower Cloud built this latest network through a partnership with a number of local independent ILECs, including Alma Telephone Company, along railroad rights of way. Part of this recent build included stitching together the networks of 11 rural ILEC partners.

Teddy Solomon, Chairman of Alma Telephone Company, said in a press release about the latest build out, that its partnership with Tower Cloud "will result in greatly enhanced wireless services through our region and will encourage additional economic development."

Townsend said that while initially some rural ILECs were a bit concerned about working with Tower Cloud, he's seeing more of them buying into their partnership program.

"We went and worked with the rural providers who had fiber and struck partnerships with them, and if you talked to them today they would say it has become a better partnership than they initially envisioned," he said. "When we first came into the market many of them were like 'who is this guy coming to steal and pillage our markets and take our networks, but with the revenues we're getting we are becoming one of their largest customers.'"

While wireless backhaul is Tower Cloud's primary focus, Townsend said they are considering how their network could serve other area constituents for lit fiber services, particularly the military and universities that have facilities near their fiber.  

"We are starting to get inquiries from the military where they have needs to get from one base in Georgia to a base in North Carolina or to Washington, D.C.," he said.

Townsend added that "if you start looking at colleges and universities in some cases we have 171 that are less than 2 miles from our fiber so we're very interested in working with those guys."

For more:
- see the release

Show coverage: COMPTEL Fall 2012: Continuing coverage from Dallas

On the Hot Seat: Taking a new look at wireless backhaul with Ron Mudry of Tower Cloud

Related articles:
Tower Cloud gets $17M in new funding, expands its Georgia network presence
Tower Cloud rakes in $49M in funding, expands Atlanta backhaul network
Broadband Forum introduces MPLS wireless backhaul network specification

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