Emily Cooperative Telephone Company Selects Calix AXOS to Deliver Always-On Gigabit Services in Central Minnesota

For the practitioners in the crowd, I’m going to share part of Calix’s press release on Emily Cooperative Telephone using their products..

Calix, Inc. (NYSE:CALX) today announced Emily Cooperative Telephone Company (ECTC) is deploying the Calix AXOS E7-2 Intelligent Modular System and GigaFamily premises solutions for their next generation fiber network in Central Minnesota. An NTCA Gig-Certified service provider, ECTC will upgrade their existing GPON and Active Ethernet based network to Calix AXOS GPON solutions in order to deliver a sensational subscriber experience to their customers. With the always-on, self-healing, and remote diagnostic capabilities enabled by AXOS, ECTC can streamline operations and minimize downtime for maintenance windows and repairs, dramatically reducing operating costs. More importantly, these powerful and unique AXOS features also are increasingly valuable to subscribers, driving lower churn, and higher customer satisfaction.

“As ECTC looked ahead to the transformation of our fiber network, we were looking not just for another box, but for a platform that could evolve with us as we move to software defined access and next generation fiber technologies,” said Josh Netland, general manager at ECTC. “That is exactly what we have found in Calix, a partner who is committed to that transformation as well. Calix has a compelling vision both for the future of our network, driven by AXOS, but also for our services, including smart home and Carrier Class Wi-Fi offerings. We feel confident that we are moving forward with the right partner who will help us maximize our long-term investment and allow us to bring a world-class broadband experience to our subscribers.”

And a little on ECTC…

Emily Cooperative Telephone Company (ECTC) is proud to offer the Central Minnesota communities of Emily, Fifty Lakes, Little Pine and Fairfield Townships the highest internet speeds, the latest in high definition digital television technology and premium telephone services. Through our ultra-fast, ultra-reliable fiber optic network, we provide our customers with state-of-the-art technology and customer service that’s second to none.

Fiber Connect June 4-6 in Nashville: See you there to talk broadband?

Much as I love trips to the hinterlands of Minnesota (and I do!) I’m kind of excited to be heading to Nashville for the Fiber Connect conference June 4-6. Sure the snow here will probably be melted by then – but sessions look as good as the weather.

I will be there with Bill Coleman to talk about our report featuring Minnesota communities that have done well with broadband – Measuring Impact of Broadband in 5 Rural MN Communities. Here’s the rest of the conference (from their website)…

Your company’s priorities might differ from your colleagues, but in the end, we all strive for the same things: reliable, profitable networks, efficiently deployed, that deliver ultra-high-speed services to satisfied customers.

Join us for the 2018 Fiber Connect to discover solutions to your business issues and successfully reach your goals.
BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Learn from industry experts and seasoned network operators as they share best practices for overcoming deployment challenges and monetizing your networks. Sessions are categorized into four education tracks, each covering a variety of topics to connect you with the content you need.

EDUCATION TRACKS
Business
• E-Rate Funding
• Service Delivery
• User Impact
• Value of Fiber
• Video Service Options
• Marketing and Public Relations
Engineering
• Network Design
• Plant Management
• Evolution of the Central Office and Data Centers Operations
• Installation Service and Maintenance
• Fiber Certification
• Pole Attachment
• Video Service Options
Fiber Broadband Starter Kit
• Funding Network
• Personnel
• Establishing Partnerships

US Ignite, Inc. Adds Red Wing Ignite in Minnesota to Growing Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) Program

Good news from Red Wing…

Today, US Ignite, Inc. announced that Red Wing Ignite, located in southern Minnesota, is the newest participant in the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) program. US Ignite is a nonprofit that spurs the creation of next-generation applications and services that leverage advanced networking technologies to build the foundation for smart communities. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015, US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities program is creating “living lab” environments for the next generation of gigabit applications. Red Wing Ignite joins 24 other national and international communities participating in the SGC program.

“Building a diverse set of communities has been important to us since the start of the SGC program,” said William Wallace, Executive Director of US Ignite. “We are excited to have Red Wing on board to provide the unique perspective of a rural community. As an original member of US Ignite in 2013, the community has already succeeded in becoming a regional hub for digital innovation and business development. Joining the program is its next step in continuing this path of success.”

“We value the partnership we have built with US Ignite over the past four years, and we are honored to receive this new opportunity for our region,” said Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director of Red Wing Ignite and Community Leader of the SGC program. “The added resources and connections throughout the country will elevate our efforts in Minnesota.”

Smart Gigabit Communities is a collaboration among US Ignite, universities, municipalities, community anchor institutions like hospitals and schools, nonprofits, network carriers and ISPs.  Together, these organizations are focused on developing smart gigabit applications that address local community needs, such as education, workforce development, public safety, community health, smart energy and transportation. Each member of the program has committed to develop two gigabit applications or gigabit services per year that provide advanced technology solutions to issues faced by that community. They also agree to share those applications with other participants in the program.

According to US Ignite, it is essential for rural communities to be connected to other communities so that they don’t fall behind in the rapidly changing digital space. Access to a national network is critical in developing, launching and scaling new applications. The SGC program provides the infrastructure that allows Red Wing Ignite to a be a “tech hub” for greater Minnesota and serve students, entrepreneurs and businesses.
For example, Red Wing Ignite has expressed an interest in creating gigabit agricultural applications, as well as clean energy, healthcare, educational, and advanced manufacturing applications. One potential smart agricultural application uses thermal imagery from infrared cameras to measure temperatures and crop water stress during critical crop growth stages. Advanced networks enable local farmers to receive massive amounts of data from these cameras, analyze that data, and make informed decisions.

Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC) is a key technology partner for Red Wing Ignite, providing gigabit Internet speeds over FTTP networks reaching Red Wing Ignite users in nine Minnesota counties. HBC’s fiber optic transport ring connects more than twenty southern Minnesota cities with multiple 10 GB and 100 GB backbones. HBC will dedicate a team responsible for the networking and connectivity to partners in the Red Wing Ignite community, led by HBC president Dan Pecarina.

Many other organizations partner within the Red Wing Ignite community, including:  3M, Xcel Energy, City of Red Wing, Blandin Broadband Foundation, and Winona State University.

Paul Bunyan awarded Minnesota Broadband Grant for portions of Itasca County, St. Louis County, and Hubbard County

DEED made the grant announcements on Tuesday. I suspect there will be a few follow up notes from the various communities, which I will be sharing as I get them.

Paul Bunyan Communications has been awarded a Border to Border Broadband Grant from the state of Minnesota to expand its fiber optic services to portions of St Louis, Hubbard and Itasca Counties.
As a result, the cooperative will begin expansion construction next spring that will pass a minimum of 830 locations. The areas include the Hwy 34 corridor between Nevis and Park Rapids in Hubbard County, portions of the Side Lake Area that include locations in both Itasca County and St. Louis County, and an area Southeast of Bigfork and North of Scenic Highway. The project is estimated to cost $1.78 million, with Paul Bunyan Communications contributing $980,990, and the State of Minnesota
Border to Border grant contributing $802,620.
“We are excited to continue our efforts to bring broadband Internet speeds and services to those currently without it in our region. Our cooperative has a long history of expanding our network to unserved areas but it has become more difficult to go it alone without grant support. Thanks to the State of Minnesota Border to Border Grant Program we will be able to reach even more homes and businesses with speeds of up to a Gigabit per second further extending one of the largest rural Gigabit networks in the country!,” said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.
Paul Bunyan Communications expects to finalize the expansion plans by early spring and will contact locations along the upcoming expansion routes shortly thereafter. Construction will start in the summer and will be completed by June 30, 2020.
Those in the region interested in keeping up to date on the project can look for updates on the Paul Bunyan website at
http://paulbunyan.net. Those in Itasca County can also join the Paul Bunyan Communications Itasca County Fiber Projects group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/PBC.Itasca/
“This is a big deal to those in our project areas. I am excited about the opportunities that Paul Bunyan’s technology will bring to these locations. Employees will be able to work from home, students will have access to vast educational resources at incredible speeds, and seniors will be able to stay in their homes longer with telemedicine.” added Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications Information Technology and Development Manager. “Access to high quality affordable Internet has been our focus at the cooperative since 1999. Our team has built a world class all-fiber optic network that has made it happen.” said
Howard.
“I must salute the hard work of our elected officials who have championed the Border to Border Broadband Grant Program. I want to thank all of them and also the Office of Broadband Development that oversees the program. This makes a world of difference in so many ways to a lot of people right here in northern Minnesota!” said Johnson.
All of the cooperative’s services will become available once the network is operational including GigaZone service options like unprecedented Broadband Internet speeds of up to 1000 Mbps – a Gigabit, PBTV Fusion and low cost unlimited local and long distance GigaZone voice telephone service. There is no membership fee to join Paul Bunyan Communications, membership is included by subscribing to either local phone service or GigaZone Internet service.
Paul Bunyan Communications has the region’s largest and fastest all fiber optic network with over 5,100 square miles throughout most of Beltrami County and portions of Cass, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, and St. Louis Counties. The Cooperative provides Broadband High Speed Internet Services including the GigaZone, digital and high definition television services, Smart Home services, digital voice services, Residential and Business IT services, and is also northern Minnesota’s certified Apple Service Center.

Humphrey School recognizes innovative local government broadband projects

The University of Minnesota reports…

Across the state of Minnesota, local governments are finding creative ways to deliver services to their residents with greater impact and at lower cost. Examples include expanding broadband access in rural Minnesota communities, improving educational outcomes for American Indian students, and enhancing emergency response to people with mental health issues.

Those projects and nearly two dozen others are being recognized by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, as recipients of its 11th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA).

Sunrise Township was recognized for their work getting better broadband through CenturyLink and a State Border to Border Broadband grant…

Township Category: Sunrise Township—Broadband Initiative
Sunrise Township in Chisago County spearheaded an extensive effort consisting of community meetings, required notices, and securing approval from 50 percent of property owners, to bring broadband infrastructure to its residents. A collaborative effort between residents and the township board led to creation of a Subordinate Service District (SSD) to help facilitate the installation and financing of high-speed internet through Century Link. The township received a grant and began acquiring a bond, while Century Link assists with funding and works to install fiber optics to SDD area residents by December 2018.

Traverse County also got a nice nod for their work on a wireless project at the county level.

Main Street Gibbon is getting a 3D printer – that’s what happens with FTTP

I love to share stories about what works when good broadband and innovation meet to the advantage of rural development. Today’s happy story comes from Gibbon, MN.

Winthrop News reports…

The Gibbon City Council has agreed to sell the State Bank of Gibbon building to Corey Theis of Gibbon. The Council asked $14,000 for the building, the amount of expenses that I has in the building.

Theis will pay 25 percent down with the balance on a four year contract for deed at zero percent interest.

Plans for the building is to create a home for a startup 3D printing service shop that will be owned and operative by a local resident of the community. Theis stated that to start with the building will be capable of making various types of plastic parts for jigs, and fixtures, manufacturing tooling, prototypes, product development and engineering consulting.

Gibbon has FTTP through RS Fiber. That makes is possible to download, upload, transfer large design files that would likely be used in 3D printing.

Fond du Lac gets $2 Million from USDA for FTTH

Congrats to Fond du Lac recipient of a USDA Rural Development Community Connect Grants.

N Fond du Lac Band of Lake
Superior Chippewa
$2,109,007
To construct an FTTP system to provide state-of-the-art
broadband services to unserved residents and businesses in
the Big Lake area of the Fond du Lac Reservation. A
community center will be established where residents may
have access to computer terminals and free internet for at
least two years