RS Fiber and HBC Partnership Selects Calix to Deliver Gigabit Services

  • Calix
  • Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC)
  • RS Fiber Cooperative (RS Fiber)
AUSTIN, TX — The RS Fiber Cooperative (RS Fiber) has partnered with Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC) to bring a gigabit broadband experience to 10 cities and 17 townships across four counties in south central Minnesota using Calix systems and software. Leveraging some of the same traditional financial and business mechanisms that brought electricity to rural areas, these communities have taken a collaborative funding approach that leverages a unique public-private partnership to deliver an affordable fiber-optic broadband network to the region.

The multi-community/township Joint Powers Board will issue two General Obligation Tax Abatement Bonds to provide essential community-based funding for the network. The bond proceeds will be provided to RS Fiber through a loan agreement, which enables the cooperative to obtain additional funding from private sources, including local banks, other cooperatives, and rural investors. In addition, RS Fiber is using other federal, state, and private funding sources to implement the $15 million first phase of this network. Upon its completion, this network will enable educational, government, and medical institutions to extend the provision of essential community services to the area's cities, townships, agricultural producers, and related businesses. RS Fiber has partnered with fiber service provider HBC in a partnership to build and operate the gigabit network that will serve each community.

Two-Phase Project
RS Fiber broadband services are being delivered in two separate phases. First, in July 2015, RS Fiber Air, which includes Wi-Fi-based Internet speeds of up to 25 Mbps and voice services, will be rolled out to 90 percent of the RS Fiber serving area. One month later, the cities of Winthrop and Gaylord will be able to receive voice, video, and gigabit broadband speeds within their communities. In 2016, the middle mile network will be completed and eight more cities will be served by the gigabit network. In the second phase of the project, as subscribers sign up for services and revenues are generated, RS Fiber will continue to push fiber further into the network and plan to connect every premises in the 17 townships to fiber.

The project includes an end-to-end fiber service solution from Calix to bring the gigabit experience to each wireline subscriber. The solution includes:

  • The 844E GigaCenter, a new service delivery platform, which uses Carrier Class Wi-Fi to deliver cloud-enhanced services throughout the home.

  • The E7-20 and E7-2 Ethernet Service Access Platforms (ESAPs) as the foundation for the fiber access network.

  • The Compass Consumer Connect and Flow Analyze software applications that enhance the gigabit experience through network visibility, device control, and subscriber analysis.

"By utilizing the familiar cooperative model and partnering with a like-minded service provider in HBC, RS Fiber will use the power of the gigabit experience to be able to change the economic, educational, and social futures of these counties," said Jacob Rieke, RS Fiber board member and local farmer. "Bringing gigabit services to this area is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that all of us involved with RS Fiber are proud to be a part of."
Delivering Gigabit Services via Carrier Class Wi-Fi to Device-enabled Subscribers
"Today, delivering gigabit services via Carrier Class Wi-Fi to device-enabled subscribers should be table stakes for any service provider, whether in an urban area or a rural environment," said Dan Pecarina, president and CEO at HBC. "By deploying the Calix 844E GigaCenters, we are not only able to deliver a superior subscriber experience, but the Carrier Class Wi-Fi features of the GigaCenter allow us to enhance our service velocity with quicker and more efficient customer installations. This not only benefits our subscribers, but brings our business economic and operational savings."

With the ability to subtend from Ethernet CPE, such as Calix 700GE family of ONTs, the 844E GigaCenter and Consumer Connect solution brings end-to-end access network visibility and control to HBC's Tech Wizards. As the technical support arm of HBC, Tech Wizards will have representatives based in the RS Fiber serving area. They will be able to remotely maintain and manage broadband devices within subscribers' homes, allowing them to minimize on-site support and further enhance their operational savings.

"Underserved communities are often forced to find unique ways to solve their broadband challenges and RS Fiber and HBC have come together to meet the needs of 27 such communities," said John Colvin, Calix senior vice president of North American sales. "HBC has a history of enabling communities with fiber, bringing economic development through early introduction of gigabit services and the U.S. Ignite program. Now, as RS Fiber embarks on bringing fiber-based services to multiple counties, HBC will be able to leverage its expertise to make this partnership a great success for the communities they serve."


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