Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX) in April announced that it has completed more than 20 million tests—with one million for speed—with its comprehensive Broadband Performance Testing platform, comprised of the Calix Support Cloud (CSC), GigaSpire BLAST and GigaCenter systems, and the company's Broadband Performance Testing Service. The company says this combination of offerings scalably enables broadband service providers (BSPs) to efficiently identify, analyze, and rectify network issues that impact broadband performance testing, allowing their teams to remain compliant with intricate Federal Communications Commission (FCC) testing requirements.
As noted by Calix, "United States federal funding for broadband deployment projects, which reached more than $4.5 billion in 2020, requires compliance with rigorous speed and latency performance standards set out by the FCC. Applicants must successfully complete this testing or risk losing up to 25 percent of their monthly funding from the program." For its part, to make its testing process painless and efficient, Wisconsin-based Wittenberg Telephone Company / Cirrinity engaged closely with the Calix Professional Services team. Calix helped Wittenberg uncover provisioning issues and test-server problems—and ended up improving broadband performance tests by up to 20 percent.
“Through the Calix Performance Testing Service, we were able to cut through the noise of hundreds of thousands of tests and pinpoint the issues that were dragging down our test results, and we immediately saw a huge improvement,” said Scott Nyman, general manager and CEO, Wittenberg Telephone Company. “Moreover, the detailed, customized reporting and analysis provided by Calix has allowed us to proactively resolve issues with our broadband subscribers. The experience with Calix has been overwhelmingly positive—the FCC testing process is quite complex and time-consuming, and Calix has been with us every step of the way to ensure that we are positioned to meet our FCC obligations and deliver the performance that our subscribers expect.”
Specifically, the broadband performance testing solution from Calix involves the:
- Calix Support Cloud: This highly scalable cloud-based test controller eliminates the complexities of setting up tests and collecting and providing the results per FCC requirements.
- GigaSpire BLAST Systems: In addition to powering Wi-Fi 6 coverage for subscribers, the GigaSpire BLAST systems double as an unobtrusive test client for FCC broadband testing applications, enabling BSPs to automatically and transparently perform the required speed and latency tests needed for FCC reporting purposes.
- Broadband Performance Testing Service: This Calix professional service is designed to help BSPs establish a workable broadband testing framework. Calix experts consult with BSP operations teams to set up testing endpoints, train them on CSC and GigaSpire BLAST test clients, and help them run the required pre-tests. A key element of the service, Calix generates actionable reports every month and reviews the analysis with the service provider to identify and resolve issues that could impact overall results. Finally, Calix regularly shares best practices through exclusive webinars covering the latest industry developments on testing and the regulatory process.
Van Buren Telephone Company, which serves the southeast Iowa region, turned to Calix when its previous performance testing solution did not meet expectations.
“We were rapidly approaching the April 7th pre-test reporting deadline and needed to find a new testing solution to ensure that we were adhering to FCC performance standards or possibly risk losing funding,” said Monte Hagge, general manager of Van Buren Telephone. “With a robust, tightly integrated testing solution, Calix came highly recommended by other service providers. Working with Calix Professional Services, we moved from install to actually conducting tests in just over two weeks, which is absolutely phenomenal. More importantly, not only did the Calix solution address our immediate, urgent requirement for performance testing, it has positioned us to begin offering managed Wi-Fi services to our subscribers in the future.”
Going forward, Calix notes that pre-testing reporting deadlines currently loom for participants in the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM I), A-CAM I Revised, Alaska Plan, and Rural Broadband Experiment programs. Combined with the USDA ReConnect and state funds, this series of government programs accounted for a $4.5 billion budget in 2020.
“Calix was first to market with our FCC testing service two years ago, and we have extended that market lead as we gained deep operational experience supporting our customers through the FCC broadband performance testing process, starting with the broadband providers that had to complete the USAC pre-tests in January 2020,” concludes Martha Galley, senior VP of customer engagement at Calix. “Our solution makes testing simple and painless. Calix customers have run 20 million speed and latency tests—nearly half of them in the last 30 days. This tremendous figure underscores just how scalable and field-proven the Calix solution is and reinforces the integral role that our services team plays in helping customers navigate and successfully complete the FCC testing process.”