BEC Taps Calix to Build Fiber Network for Smart Grid, Broadband Services

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On a single Calix-powered fiber network, Bandera supports distributed energy, smart grid automation, meter reading, and gigabit broadband services for residents and businesses

Bandera Electric Cooperative (BEC) is leveraging Calix solutions throughout their fiber network (known as BEC Fiber) and in their subscribers’ premises in the Texas Hill Country.

The Calix AXOS E7-2 Intelligent Modular System and Whole Home Wi-Fi solutions deliver world class end-to-end connectivity throughout BEC’s fiber network, while Calix Support Cloud ensures that the customer support team is positioned with the analytics, insights, and remote management capabilities to deliver the best service in their market.

Serving over 26,000 members across seven counties, this visionary electric cooperative expanded with the BEC Fiber service connecting their first subscribers in 2017. With a commitment to operational excellence and outstanding customer service, BEC Fiber is on a mission to reach all members with their fiber broadband service in the coming years.

To date, BEC Fiber has already secured 4,000 residential pre-registrations and is providing local schools with 10 gigabit connectivity. In addition, the fiber network will serve as the foundation for BEC’s Smart Grid, as well as their renewable energy subsidiary, BEC Solar, LLC, which provides solar and energy storage alternatives for their members.

“We are now in the ‘Information Age,’ and we can see the needs of our members – and our business – evolving. As a member-owned cooperative, BEC is ideally positioned to address those needs,” said William Hetherington, CEO and General Manager of BEC. “On the electric side of the business, we have members interested in our renewable energy alternatives including the solar panels, Tesla power walls, and even electric vehicle charging stations. This interest is driving growth in our distributed generation and battery storage products, providing additional revenue to BEC Solar, and cost savings for all our members. Connecting it all with a robust fiber communications platform is critical to the efficiency and effectiveness of our network services. Calix has helped us converge our broadband and Smart Grid services into a single, reliable fiber network that is delivering the best member Wi-Fi experience in our market. Fiber and world-class Wi-Fi connectivity are essential to our success both now and into the future, and we are thrilled to be partnering with Calix to lay this foundation today.”

Exceeding member expectations is the top priority for BEC. As the fiber project expands, the Calix GigaCenters, 804Mesh satellites, and Calix Support Cloud will play key roles in assuring the delivery of an unmatched broadband experience.

BEC members are already excited about the new whole home Wi-Fi services and 804Mesh satellites that will provide the coverage needed to bring service to every corner of a home or business. Calix Support Cloud allows BEC Fiber to remotely manage the network, utilizing real-time data to reduce service call times, reduce truck rolls, and ensure the highest level of member satisfaction.

While BEC’s members have shown a strong interest in broadband service across their underserved communities, improving the electric system with Smart Grid automation and support for renewable energy has also been the driving force to build the BEC fiber network.

As a Tesla business partner, energy storage, along with energy efficiency and distributed generation, is a growing part of the BEC business. With the end goal of a system-wide fiber network connecting every members’ home and business, BEC can execute its renewable energy program, as well as deploy meter reading and distributed energy management to enhance the operational efficiency of its electric business. As BEC introduces additional Smart Grid applications to their network, the cooperative can utilize its existing Calix infrastructure, which will reduce capital expenses while improving business operations.

“In the past, water and electricity were table stakes for economic development in a rural market. When a company decides on where to open their new plant or office, they need to know that they have the infrastructure they need to be successful. Without a doubt, gigabit fiber services are now as important to a region’s development as electricity and water were historically. That is why we are seeing unprecedented interest and momentum with municipal, electric cooperative, and fiber overbuilders as they enable the next level of prosperity for their members,” said Michael Weening, executive vice president at Calix. “Forward looking electric cooperatives like BEC are partnering with Calix and Tesla to bring world class communications and energy infrastructures to improve their communities. Thanks to the future proof nature of AXOS, the world’s only software defined access OS, and the ability to bring new services to market first, BEC Fiber is equipped to ensure that they and their members stay in a leading position well into the future.”


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