7% are taking
“A lot of
bandwidth is not
ever going to be an
issue for them,” Foster said.
Not all service providers with FTTH
networks are offering gigabit service
at this time, however.
“We can do a gigabit, but no one has
requested it” and offering it would
require the company to “invest a bit
more in central office equipment,” said Klarer of Mount Horeb.
Hinds of GRM Networks raised a different issue. As a
member-owned cooperative, the company typically tries
not to offer services to certain members that are not available to everyone.
The company is rethinking that approach, however.
About half of customers currently are served over FTTH
infrastructure, and the company is upgrading a large percentage of the remainder, thanks to USF funding. Accordingly, the company soon plans to launch service at speeds
up to 1 Gbps in FTTH areas.
Clearly NTCA members are carefully weighing investment
decisions with an eye toward offering the highest possible
speeds, based on the unique needs of their communities. l
Joan Engebretson is a freelance writer. Contact her at
Customers of Coon Valley Cooperative
Telephone Association (Menlo, Iowa)
will see a huge jump in speeds available
to them as the result of another USF-supported upgrade currently underway.
The maximum speed Coon Valley
customers could previously access
was 3–6 Mbps downstream, and as
Coon Valley General Manager Jim
Nelson explained, the company was
seeing customers upgrade to 6 Mbps
service—a trend he attributed to the
popularity of streaming video offerings
from Netflix, You Tube and others.
As Coon Valley upgrades customers to FTTH, they will be able to get
speeds of up to 1 Gbps downstream.
The minimum speed the company
will offer is 25 Mbps downstream.
Despite the higher cost of FTTH, the
company chose the technology over
FTTN for its deployment because “
bandwidth demand is just going to continue
to grow,” Nelson said. To help fund the
deployment, the company took out a
loan from the Rural Utilities Service,
which will cover some of the costs.
Another company leveraging USF
support, Twin Valley has deployed
FT TH in some areas,
while in others it
delivers service over fiber-fed copper
loops. The company is now upgrading
the copper loops to fiber—a project
the company expects to fund from
cash reserves over a three- to four-
year period, according to Twin
Valley President and Chief Executive
Officer Ben Foster.
The Gigabit Decision
FTTH infrastructure can support
speeds up to 1 Gbps downstream or
higher, and some service providers are
offering gigabit service, even though
few residential applications require
such high bandwidth at this time.
Twin Valley’s most popular service
provides 100 Mbps downstream. But
want to know
bandwidth is not
ever going to be
Ben Foster, President and
Chief Executive Officer,
Twin Valley Telephone
has deployed FTTH in
some areas, while in others it
delivers service over fiber-fed
copper loops. An upgrade of cop-
per loops to fiber will take three
to four years, according to Twin
Valley President and Chief