July 16, 2014
Rural Broadband Services Corp. is shaping up to be one of the new enablers of the Gigabit Cities vision, but with an eye trained on rural markets.
The Georgia company’s first deployment is in Tahlequah, Okla., and surrounding Cherokee County, where it is using ADVA’s Ethernet Service Suite to roll out Gigabit Ethernet to a variety of businesses, with a plan to eventually connect residential customers to the network through a third party. (See RBSC Uses ADVA Ethernet Suite.)
The Oklahoma project represents a change of technology philosophy for RBSC founder, president, and CEO Roy Choates, a 35-year telecom industry veteran.
“I’m an old TDM guy, and one of my staff is an Ethernet guy, so to start, we had two different points of view how to go about this,” Choates tells Light Reading. But, after spending time going over the ESS platform with ADVA Optical Networking , Choates became an Ethernet convert. “We have a lot of investment in people and time, so we need something turnkey. I’m so amazed at the intelligent network capabilities of Ethernet that, after 35 years as a TDM and voice guy, I’m an Ethernet guy now.”
RBSC also looked at Ethernet platforms from other vendors, including Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) and Zhone Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ZHNE), Choates says. It went with ADVA after about three months of evaluation.
Meanwhile, the perpetual debate about how to bring broadband to underserved rural markets continues. The Federal Communications Commission just set aside more money for the cause, but Choates says it’s time to do more acting than talking. “Broadband for rural America gets a lot of press, but there are very few real projects,” he says. “We’re trying to do our part to change that.”
Though Choates may think he’s alone, recent evidence suggests more rural telcos and utilities are set to bring gigabit-level broadband services to their markets. (See Utility to Go Gigabit in Oklahoma, VTel Turns Up LTE, Gigabit Networks, and FCC Commits $100M to Rural Experiments.)
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading
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