ADTRAN®, Inc., a provider of next-generation innovative fiber and fiber extension broadband access solutions, has announced through its Enabling Communities, Connecting Lives program, that the Orange County Broadband Authority (OCBA) selected the ADTRAN Total Access 5000 (TA5000) fiber access platform to bring broadband internet services to its community.
When no other Internet Service Provider (ISP) would service the rural region, OCBA partnered with ADTRAN utilizing the General Services Administration (GSA) schedule for procurement. The OCBA built its own Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) broadband network to deliver affordable internet service to its residential and business customers.
In 2019, the OCBA surveyed residents and businesses in the county and noted that 92% of respondents were dissatisfied with their current internet bandwidth speeds. Over 40% of students did not have reliable access in their homes to complete schoolwork and only 7.5% reported speeds greater than 25 Mbps—the threshold for being considered underserved. In March 2020, COVID-19 escalated the need to connect students, residents and businesses to high-speed, reliable, affordable broadband and further supported the OCBA’s decision to become its own ISP.
“Since the OCBA’s network is a greenfield deployment, we wanted to minimize the number of network equipment vendors, allow for future capacity and minimize the cost associated with operating the network,” said Lewis Foster, Broadband Program Manager at the OCBA. “With ADTRAN’s fiber access platform, we are able to leverage our resources in the most efficient and cost-saving way while advancing the economy and quality of life for subscribers in our area.”
Through its ReConnect program, the USDA awarded more than $744 million in funds through March 2020, to support more than 80 broadband projects benefiting more than 430,000 rural residents in 34 states. On June 25, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it had partnered with the GSA to finalize a revised Standard Form (SF-299) to make it applicable to support rural broadband. The deployment by the OCBA is part of a GSA contract in support of a rural broadband initiative.
The OCBA is leveraging the TA5000 fiber access platform to build a highly efficient broadband access architecture using high-capacity XGS-PON to offer internet connection speeds up to 10G. The OCBA is now able to better support remote learning and work-from-home employees, as well as enable its residents to connect to telehealth services and avoid commuting nearly an hour to the nearest hospitals. With more than 20% of the population over 65, the OCBA saw this as a key demographic it wanted to better serve with its new network. Additionally, these high-speed services will attract new economic and recruiting advantages to the local industrial park. The network can also support local historical sites, like James Madison’s Montpelier in its efforts to digitally modernize archives.
“High-speed broadband is a vital resource no longer reserved for urban environments. Communities across rural America are working to bring the benefits of broadband to their neighborhoods, farms, manufacturers, schools and businesses,” said Craig Stein, Vice President of Sales for Americas and Head of Global Business Development at ADTRAN. “It’s exciting to see utilities and individual counties, like Orange County, Va., make it a priority to bring affordable and reliable broadband services to their customers. ADTRAN continues to support initiatives like this that enable more communities across the U.S. to flourish as they connect to new educational, healthcare and economic opportunities.”