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Smithville Communications launches major network fiber-supported upgrade for rural DSL broadband customers

Beginning in 2015, a multi-year project will bring widespread fiber-optics support to all customer-serving access equipment throughout Smithville Communications service areas. The upgrade is expected to stabilize data speeds for all Smithville DSL customers and also enable higher speed offerings for many customers.

ELLETTSVILLE, Indiana – Smithville Communications, which has earned a reputation as the “state champion” of rural broadband for its Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) service, formally launched a new expansion of its fiber-optics network for copper infrastructure in early January. This new expansion of fiber-supported connectivity into rural Indiana is part of a planned multi-year construction project to upgrade speed and capacity. Initial construction has already begun in rural areas of Greene C0unty.

According to Darby McCarty, Smithville CEO, the construction project will extend and enhance service quality and capacity for Smithville customers currently receiving copper-based DSL data services. By extending fiber further into existing copper-based communication infrastructure, Smithville is creating a platform for possible future direct fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) installations.

“Our ultimate goal is to contribute our professional expertise and capacity to converting and building out fiber-based and fiber-supported networks throughout Indiana, and in particular in rural areas in southern Indiana,” said Ms. McCarty.

Since 2008, Smithville has deployed FTTP services to over half of its residential customer base in southern Indiana as part of a $100 million project that Smithville funded through a previous federal loan program. When the terms of prior federal financing options changed, Smithville began funding additional expansion opportunities through its own means.

“With the growth of streaming video, the existing technology available through legacy copper infrastructure has just been unable to handle the increasing customer bandwidth demands,” said Dave Brodin, Chief Technology Officer of Smithville Communications. “Pushing fiber further out into the network, will help alleviate possible congestion that customers may experience.” The added value of the new construction, according to Brodin, is that “we will have the potential to dramatically increase the data speeds and capacity for many of our copper-based customers.”

For customers within 10,000 feet of Smithville’s fiber-supported equipment, a new VDSL product (digital IPTV and high-speed Internet delivered through a combination of fiber and copper infrastructure) will be available. Compared to the current maximum 3 Mbps available with legacy copper-based DSL, this new service will offer speeds between 10 and 40 Mbps. In addition, customers can receive Smithville’s IPTV service with more than 200 channels.

Planning for the upgrade started in early 2014, and construction is already underway in the first area, which includes Stanford and Solsberry (Indiana). When completed, affected customers will still have the existing copper to their home, but the Smithville access equipment in the field that provides the service will be entirely supported by fiber. Construction and upgrades will continue throughout out Smithville’s service area for the next three to four years.

“This is essentially the first step in any future FTTP efforts in these areas,” Brodin continued. “This brings the fiber much closer to our customers opening up the possibility of extending it all the way to their homes at some future point.”

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About Smithville Communications – Nationally recognized as a Top 100 Broadband Company, privately owned Smithville Communications is Indiana’s largest independent telecom company with more than 140 employees. With an earned reputation as a communications technology innovator, Smithville is presently deploying Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) and other enhanced fiber services to its business and residential customers. These services, which range up to 10 Gbps, provide a platform for the fastest connectivity available in Indiana to business, institutions and consumers. The company currently serves about 23,000 businesses and residences in southern and central Indiana.