Calix Scores Two FTTH Wins in Minnesota

  • Calix
  • FTTH
  • Public-Private Partnerships
PETALUMA, CA - Two public-private broadband projects in Minnesota, one of them stimulus-funded, have both selected Calix as the supplier for their fiber-to-the-home equipment.

Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC), a CLEC that has already built FTTH networks in a number of towns in southeastern Minnesota, will now bring advanced broadband services to six additional communities in that region. HBC will deploy GPON and point-to-point gigabit Ethernet technologies using primarily the Calix E7 Ethernet Service Access Platform (ESAP) and 700GE family of optical network terminals (ONTs) to deliver video, voice, and ultra-fast broadband.

HBC's fiber access network extension plans cover the communities of Red Wing, Lake City, Plainview, Elgin, Eyota, and Dover. With this expansion, HBC has now deployed Calix fiber access infrastructure across five Minnesota counties and 14 communities, and it manages network operations and acts as a network operations consultant to a variety of other cities across the country where Calix fiber access systems are deployed.

"We are extremely excited for these six new deployments, not only because they significantly expand our footprint, but because the communities have been working diligently with us in public-private partnerships to make this happen," said Gary Evans, president and CEO of HBC. "Calix has been a key partner in our success over the years, working closely with us virtually every step of the way. Partnerships like the one we have with Calix are the way business should be done, where the goals of the vendor, the service provider, and the community are totally aligned and in sync, resulting in a happy and growing subscriber base."

HBC has been a major catalyst for change in southeastern Minnesota over the last decade, bringing advanced broadband to the region when others would not. Its initial broadband services deployment in Winona was a model that many cities in the region and around the country wanted to emulate — often proactively reaching out to HBC to extend its model into their communities. After its broadband stimulus application for a number of communities in the region was turned down in January of 2010, HBC and its Board decided to move forward, leveraging many of the engineering plans originally drafted for the stimulus plan to pull fiber throughout six targeted communities and dedicating $20 million in funding to the project, of which only a portion is for access equipment. As HBC's footprint has grown, it has continued to expand its service offerings, from basic voice, video, and data services to advanced VoIP offerings, increasingly high Internet speeds, IPTV, and now a new over-the-top video service with content licensed from Vivicast and aioTV as the application software to bring premium entertainment to portable devices like tablets, smartphones, computers, and smart televisions.

Arrowhead Electric
Arrowhead Electric Cooperative also chose the E7 ESAP to bring advanced broadband services to Cook County in northeastern Minnesota - an area almost entirely unserved by broadband. Even though the project is just now breaking ground, more than 1,100 households and businesses have already preregistered to join the priority waiting list for video, voice, and broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps. Arrowhead Electric will deploy GPON technology and the 700GE family of ONTs.

Arrowhead Electric was awarded $16.7 million in loans and grants from the broadband stimulus program after an effort that was strongly supported by Cook County government. "It had become increasingly clear to the residents and businesses of Cook County that our tourism industry could suffer if we couldn't offer adequate broadband widely," says Joe Buttweiler, director of member services at Arrowhead Electric. "With this broadband stimulus award, we are bringing one of the nation's most advanced communications infrastructures to our region. Broadband services have become a necessity for the well-being of our county, and we're excited to have the opportunity to work with Calix to bring a reliable, resilient, and future-ready fiber access network to the residents of Cook County."

In addition to stimulus funding, Arrowhead Electric worked closely with Cook County to secure local sales tax grant funding in an amount up to $4 million dollars. The project is expected to benefit approximately 11,363 people, 138 businesses, and 63 community institutions.


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