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Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the FarmIndiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm

NITCO is deploying a high-speed fiber network to deliver gigabit connectivity to businesses, including a local farm/tourist attraction.

Jason Meyers

January 22, 2015

2 Min Read
Indiana Carrier Takes Fiber to the Farm

Northwestern Indiana Telephone Company (NITCO) has set its gigabit network sights on a seemingly unlikely target: The first taker of gigabit-level service on the carrier's ultra-high-speed fiber network is a farm.

The farm in question, however, is not quite as rural as it might sound. Fair Oaks Farms seems as much agrarian amusement park as working farm, complete with exhibits like The Pig Adventure, Making Milk and even a Birthing Barn where visitors can watch cows being born [ed. note: ewwww]. According to NITCO, Fair Oaks Farms will use gigabit broadband to remotely monitor milk production and processing, as well as to support video-enabled dairy, pork and crop learning centers to share knowledge and expertise with other farms and educate school children.

"It was a good opportunity for us to grow," says Gary Gray, CO supervisor for NITCO, presumably with no agricultural pun intended. "That's why we decided to go there."

For the latest on urban, suburban and rural network innovation, visit Light Reading's dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel. And be sure to register to attend Light Reading's Gigabit Cities Live event on May 13-14 in Atlanta. Providing gigabit connectivity to Fair Oaks Farms is part of NITCO's effort to deliver 75 Mbit/s to 100 Mbit/s broadband service to residential customers and gigabit-speed service to businesses in its region, leveraging a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) platform from Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN). The carrier plans to extend that FTTH network to 200 to 300 homes per year of the 15,000 total in its territory, Gray says, quickening the pace as more fiber is deployed and demand ramps up. Any interested businesses, meanwhile, will get gigabit fiber connections as long as they are close enough to the carrier's central offices, says Dan Odle, Level 3 technical engineer for NITCO. Figure 1: Whey to go! Florence and friends celebrate the arrival of gigabit broadband. Whey to go! Florence and friends celebrate the arrival of gigabit broadband. NITCO's pragmatic FTTH and gigabit-to-the-business rollout strategy offers a good example of how regional carriers can leverage the advantages of ultra-high-speed network capabilities in areas where demand for ultra-high-speed broadband may not be ubiquitous without, well, betting the farm. (See 1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You and Sugar Beet Town Gets a Sweet Gig.) Many of NITCO's business targets, for example, are currently tied up in contracts with other broadband providers. "Right now it's a waiting game," Odle says. "Once some of those contracts are ending, we expect to see more accelerated take rates." — Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jason Meyers

Executive Editor

Jason Meyers joined the editorial staff of Light Reading in 2014 with more than 20 years of experience covering a broad range of business sectors. He is responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in the Internet of Things (IoT), Gigabit Cities and utility communications areas. He previously was Executive Editor of Entrepreneur magazine, overseeing all editorial operations, assignments and editorial staff for the monthly business publication. Prior to that, Meyers spent 15 years on the editorial staff of the former Telephony magazine, including eight years as Editor in Chief.

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