South Central Connect Taps Calix to Deliver Broadband Across Rural Arkansas

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Calix, Inc. has announced that South Central Connect, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the South Central Arkansas Electric Cooperative (SCAEC), is future-proofing its GPON network with the Intelligent Access EDGE.

Founded in December 2016, South Central Connect began fiber network construction in October 2017 to deliver fast, reliable broadband services to its electric cooperative members.

However, the immense early success of its deployment generated incessant demand, indicating the unique opportunity for South Central Connect to expand into more underserved neighboring communities.

With the AXOS® platform in place, the cooperative is positioned to deliver these critical services to as many as three times the number of subscribers it had originally projected. As its communities adjust to the new normal including increased work, school and media consumption from home, reliable broadband is crucial to keeping residents safely connected at home and attracting new business opportunities to help lead the economic recovery.

“As a local electric cooperative, our mission is deeply personal, so providing broadband was a once in a lifetime opportunity to serve our communities, neighbors, friends, and families,” said Marty Allen, broadband manager for South Central Connect. “However, as we began our network rollout, we saw immediately that the demand for broadband would also be an immense growth opportunity for our business. Extending broadband services into surrounding communities is critical and enables all of us to benefit from infrastructure that attracts new businesses and enables schools. The transition has been amazing, and I am really looking forward to the next 4-5 years. Broadband is saving rural America.”

By partnering with electric cooperative specialist Conexon and the Calix Professional Services team, South Central Connect quickly deployed AXOS, simplified its network operations and laid the foundation to embrace an everyPON strategy. The cooperative had originally deployed an E7-2 Intelligent Modular System with EXA, but as demand skyrocketed and expansion became an attainable goal, the rural cooperative migrated to AXOS. After initially only intending to cover its membership of 10,000 with the help of AXOS, South Central Connect now anticipates doubling or tripling that number. AXOS dramatically simplifies its network operations, and the Services Management Connector (SMx) enables South Central Connect to streamline back office integration, delivering critical reporting capabilities and information from multiple points in the network. The Calix Professional Services team accelerated South Central Connect’s first AXOS deployments, which also give the rural cooperative an upgrade path to 10G PON—critical to its communities’ ability to attract new businesses.

“Even as we transition from stay at home to reopening parts of the economy, this global health crisis has fundamentally changed the way we do business,” said Mark Dressler, senior VP of global sales for Calix. “The need for reliable broadband has never been more important, and South Central Connect is a fantastic example of an electric cooperative stepping up to deliver for its community, even looking beyond its traditional membership. Calix is committed to enabling all electric cooperatives to keep their communities connected and lead economic recovery efforts.”


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