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Alabama Expanse Gets Upgraded to a Gig

Jason Meyers
2/12/2015

Farmer's Telecommunications Cooperative (FTC), the largest member-owned telecom provider in Alabama, has upgraded the fiber network across its entire territory to gigabit speeds.

FTC now delivers gigabit services throughout DeKalb and Jackson Counties, covering an area in northeast Alabama between Huntsville and Chattanooga, Tenn. with a total population of about 70,000.

The upgrade is part of a commitment on the part of the service provider that started in 2007 to cover all of the company's ILEC and CLEC territories with fiber, says Fred Johnson, executive vice president and general manager at FTC.

"That was driven by a commitment by the co-op board to make sure the communities we were founded to serve had no weaknesses in terms of communications infrastructure," Johnson says.


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FTC's gigabit deployment is significant not only because of the smaller markets it covers, but also because of the completeness of the gigabit upgrade to which the carrier committed. Every home and business in its territory can now get access to a symmetrical gig on FTC's 2,770-mile network, thanks to deployment of Active Ethernet (point-to-point) infrastructure gear from Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX). (See 1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You.)

Like many other smaller providers pursuing gigabit network deployments, Johnson says FTC is working with enterprise customers in sectors such as healthcare, for example, to connect them with applications that can leverage the capabilities of the gigabit network.

"There's an underlying need for quite a few businesses in the area, driven by both business requirements and a lot of telecommuters," he says.

— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading

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Ariella
Ariella
2/17/2015 | 9:40:55 AM
Re: Alabama Upgraded to Gig
@Phil yes, I saw an article that said schools are also getting students to tune in on snow days, so they turn into a remote day rather than a day off.
Phil_Britt
Phil_Britt
2/17/2015 | 9:38:30 AM
Re: Alabama Upgraded to Gig
Ariella,

 

Your reply brings up another issue pushing the need for higher speeds. Indiana is actually looking at "Internet days" as a potential subsititute for snow days since there were so many last winter.
Ariella
Ariella
2/17/2015 | 9:22:37 AM
Re: Alabama Upgraded to Gig
@Phil Yes, and speaking of such weather problems, it is snowing in NY right now. If public schools weren't already closed for Presidents Week, they would likely have closed for the weather.
Phil_Britt
Phil_Britt
2/17/2015 | 7:13:11 AM
Re: Alabama Upgraded to Gig
Ariella,

Even though Yahoo! chose to bring people back to the office, there's still a trend to remote workers, including "office" workers who can work remotely when blizzards and other weather disasters demand it. It will also be interesting to see what happens with the Yahoo! change when there is a change at the top, as many business analysts expect.
DHagar
DHagar
2/16/2015 | 1:56:55 PM
Re: Alabama Upgraded to Gig
danielcawrey, indeed.  And let's hope they profit so that this demonstrates the value across the board to all stakeholders.  It can really help "mature" the market.
Ariella
Ariella
2/16/2015 | 1:52:09 PM
Re: Alabama Upgraded to Gig
"'There's an underlying need for quite a few businesses in the area, driven by both business requirements and a lot of telecommuters,' he says."

An interesting quote. Does it indicate that telecommuting has become more popular despite the move of companies like Yahoo to stop embracing the option?

 
danielcawrey
danielcawrey
2/16/2015 | 12:22:49 PM
Re: Alabama Upgraded to Gig
I think this is an awesome development. I have long felt that broadband speeds in the United States have been lacking progress, and this news is a sign that there are those who are in decision making roles that realize this is a huge issue. 
DHagar
DHagar
2/12/2015 | 4:24:19 PM
Re: Alabama Upgraded to Gig
Jason, sounds like a great success.   I am wondering if the "completeness" you mention in this case may provide a new model for upgrading.  It sure makes sense when you are approaching the total market for both business and consumers.  It really provides certainty and a higher level of communications performance that I believe can be very attractive. 
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