Broadband Communities

OCT 2015

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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14 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | OCTOBER 2015 FTTH DEPLOYMENT Twin Valley Launches Pulse Internet After a small, family-owned telco wins an award for creating a "smart rural community," what's next? Gigabit service, of course. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities T win Valley Telephone of Kansas traces its beginnings to the early 1900s – the era of 20-party, grounded iron phone lines strung on hedge poles. But the company, which is still owned and managed by the family that bought it in 1947, has been an early adopter of new communications technology and is committed to improving the quality of life in its service area. Today, Twin Valley serves more than 6,600 customers over 2,400 square miles. In 2006, Twin Valley tripled its size by acquiring 13 exchanges from Sprint and, over the next several years, upgraded all the former Sprint areas to fber-to-the-premises infrastructure. In 2008, it became a competitive provider in the town of Clay Center and undertook another large FTTP project there, gaining the predominant market share even though it was the third Internet service provider in town. In the meantime, it built fber to the node in its six original exchanges (eventually upgrading them to VDSL) and became one of the frst rural telcos in the United States to ofer IPTV. Once its business customers had high- speed Internet access, Twin Valley leveraged its network by ofering them hosted IP voice. However, it had bigger ambitions for business services – such as data center and cloud services – and it needed a more advanced facility to provide them. In 2011, Twin Valley made the strategic decision to acquire ISG Technology, a regional data center operator and cloud service provider with a national reach. By 2014, Twin Valley subscribers were enthusiastically adopting all this new technology. Farmers used high-speed Internet to monitor felds, control equipment remotely and transmit data directly from tractors to their ofce computers. One agricultural equipment manufacturer installed a videoconferencing system to market its products worldwide. Another manufacturer adopted a cloud-based enterprise resource planning solution. Local anchor institutions have also made good use of the network. Te economic development agency started ofering Web-based training for businesses. Te medical center implemented electronic medical records and digital transmission of medical images, enabling doctors and patients to make timely decisions. Te school district issued iPads to all students. Schoolchildren learned to make videos and show them on their school TV stations. Impressed by the creative use of broadband in its service area, Twin Valley applied to NTCA– Te Rural Broadband Association for its Smart Rural Community Showcase Award and was one of 13 companies selected for this honor. NTCA's Smart Rural Community initiative recognizes trailblazing rural telcos and communities for their eforts to make rural communities vibrant places to live and do business. "We really view it as a community award," says Scott Leitzel, vice president of operations for Twin Valley. "We put the story together with help from our customers. Without the community, we wouldn't have won the award." THE NEXT STEP: GIGABIT Winning a Smart Rural Community award is a tough act to follow – but Twin Valley was determined to follow it up with something

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