Tennessee rural co-op picks Calix for end-to-end network integration

Aug. 28, 2020
Cumberland Connect invests in the Calix Intelligent Access EDGE platform to rapidly build its fiber network, and the Calix Revenue EDGE system to deliver a superior subscriber experience.

Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX) this month announced that Cumberland Connect, a subsidiary of one of the largest electric cooperatives in the United States, has partnered with Calix to simultaneously deliver fiber broadband connections and the Calix Revenue EDGE subscriber experience to its entire membership.

Thanks to the simplicity of the Calix Intelligent Access EDGE platform, Cumberland Connect says it completed its end-to-end network integration in a few weeks, yielding an 83 percent improvement over the industry standard. The co-op is currently turning up fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services to more than 130 members each week, with plans to quickly increase service turnup to 200 members per week across rural northern Tennessee.

The co-op's ultimate goal is to reach all 80,000+ of its members over the next six years—an accelerated timeframe made possible by the Calix AXOS platform. Per a Calix press release, "As it builds this new network, Cumberland Connect is securing a lasting, competitive advantage by delivering the ultimate subscriber experience with the industry-best speed and performance of the Wi-Fi 6 certified GigaSpire BLAST—part of the Calix Revenue EDGE solution."

Cumberland Connect is a subsidiary of the Cumberland Electric Member Corporation (CEMC), which was founded nearly a century ago to provide electricity to previously unserved communities in Tennessee. Currently, CEMC serves more than 80,000 members and more than 102,000 meters. It remains dedicated to enriching the lives of rural Tennesseans through access to the best technological services.

Through its partnership with consulting firm, Conexon, Cumberland Connect committed to a massive project to quickly deliver cutting-edge fiber broadband services to its membership. After evaluating the market to find a company that could offer the best technology, services, and solutions to make this quick ramp-up a success, Cumberland Connect decided Calix was the ideal partner. Cumberland Connect says it has now gone from zero operations personnel last August to now turning up more than 130 subscribers per week.

“Calix is enabling us to turn subscriber services up at an unprecedented rate and also helping us deliver a best-in-class subscriber experience over this fiber-to-the-home network,” said Mark T. Cook, P.E., Broadband Manager for CEMC. “Calix is an exemplary partner for us. Their leadership and teams consider the whole picture—not just the value of the fiber network, but also how to turn up services quickly and offer unmatched services in the subscriber’s home. Our whole team is delighted to be working with Calix to build a brighter future for our membership.”

Cumberland Connect says it is leveraging multiple Calix solutions and capabilities "to deliver an unparalleled subscriber experience over a next-generation FTTH network." Per the company, Calix products deployed include the company's:

  • Intelligent Access EDGE: The AXOS Services Management Connector (SMx) and E7-2 Intelligent Modular System simplify network operations, enabling Cumberland Connect to run its next-generation FFTH network a maximum efficiency.
  • Revenue EDGE: Calix's EDGE Insights deliver the subscriber and network intelligence to enable Cumberland Connect to deliver the ultimate managed experience with the Wi-Fi 6 certified EDGE Systems.
  • Calix Services: Calix's Deployment Enablement Services enable Cumberland Connect to scale its team to match subscriber demand, while its Remote Monitoring Service gives it the ability to troubleshoot network problems without rolling trucks.

“Electric cooperatives tend to be aggressive in their broadband deployments, but Cumberland Connect is unique in rolling out a new fiber network and an unparalleled subscriber experience concurrently,” notes Mark Dressler, senior vice president of global sales for Calix.

Dressler concludes, “Since the original founding of the electric cooperative, the Cumberland team has provided essential services, which is exactly what broadband has become with so many people across the country working, learning, and entertaining from home. The importance of broadband services cannot be understated, and fortunately for the people of northern middle Tennessee, Cumberland Connect is connecting them at an uncommonly rapid pace. We look forward to growing this partnership as they continue to expand.”

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