If a Tiny Telco in NE Alabama Can Go All Fiber, Why Can’t Every Telco?

– FTC Uses Calix Gear to Offer 80% of Its Residences 1 Gbps for $79.95/month

There’s a song that’s played often this time of the year — Mardi Gras season — in and around New Orleans: “Time Marches On” — and so does fiber-to-the home.

When tiny telcos can build all-fiber networks, it almost seems inevitable that every telco will sooner or later.

FTC (Alabama’s Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative) of Rainsville, Alabama has used Calix gear to build the state’s first 1-gigabit FTTH service. FTC is Alabama’s largest member-owned telephone cooperative. It now offers 1 Gbps services to residences and businesses in two counties. It also offers digital telephony and IPTV just like the big boys — or even better. It also offers a symmetrical 100 Mbps tier.



City slickers’ view of country telecoms: well, think again for rural Alabama!


FTC has built a 2,770-mile, point-to-point gigabit Ethernet network in two counties between Chattanooga, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama, home of Calix’s fiber optic rival ADTRAN. The all-fiber network covers about 80% of FTC’s footprint.

FTC’s cableco competitor is Comcast, which offers download speeds up to 105 Mbps in that area. FTC now offers:

Speed monthly
100 Mbps/10 Mbps down and up $69.95
1 Gbps/1 Gbps down and up $79.95

Fred Johnson, EVP and GM at FTC, said FTC’s mission is “to bring world-class services to our membership and gigabit services are the next step in our commitment.” Like others that have deployed all fiber, Johnson said the gigabit service “can transform our communities through advanced learning tools, new entertainment options and telemedicine.” Like many others, he also said its all-fiber network “future proofs our investment for whatever emerging applications our increasingly device-enabled subscribers demand.”

Advanced learning tools, entertainment — specifically OTT and 4K, plus telemedicine appear to be the triumvirate that’s driving consumer demand for faster broadband.

Calix SVP for sales in North America John Colvin said FTC is helping to meet the FCC’s challenge to create a gigabit community in every state by the end of the year. He said Calix gear has powered more than 65 gigabit networks in 37 states. “2015 looks to be another banner year for gigabit networks and we are excited to help service providers like FTC as they pull fiber forward to meet the FCC’s challenge and act as a beacon for the rest of the world to follow,” he said.


Why Can’t All Telcos Do the Same?

The money Google spent to build and operate Google Fiber in a couple of locations is pocket change to Google but companies like FTC are spending a major portion of their money to build all-fiber networks. The great unanswered question is:

“Why can’t the telcos AT&T, Verizon, Frontier, CenturyLink and the like build all-fiber networks in their footprints and make money as FTC and others are doing?”

If AT&T and Verizon think that investing their money in their cellular networks will have a better return for them their copper wire wireline networks, they should sell their copper wire footprints to companies, even to subscriber-owned companies, that will at least upgrade to 80-100 Mbps VDSL2 vectoring technology or…


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