Arkansas RDOF recipient Petit Jean taps Calix for rural XGS-PON FTTH, Wi-Fi 6

June 29, 2021
The 3rd-largest RDOF recipient in Arkansas, Petit Jean Fiber is building a world-class fiber-to-the-home network to deliver managed Wi-Fi 6 capabilities to rural communities and schools via the Calix Intelligent Access EDGE and Revenue EDGE platforms.

Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX) on June 24 announced that Petit Jean Electric Cooperative has selected the complete suite of Calix solutions and cloud-based services to cost-effectively build and deploy a world-class fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. After securing the third-highest amount of Rural Development Opportunity Fund (RDOF) dollars in Arkansas, Petit Jean will deliver the latest managed Wi-Fi 6 services to underserved members and students across its rural service territory through its newly formed, wholly owned fiber subsidiary, Petit Jean Fiber.

As a newcomer to the broadband space, Petit Jean will leverage the Calix Network Innovation Platform (AXOS) and Intelligent Access EDGE platform to build an XGS-PON FTTH network, simplifying operations and enabling the cooperative to turn up symmetrical gigabit broadband services quickly and cost-effectively. As sections of the fiber network are completed, Petit Jean says it will use the Revenue EDGE platform to furnish students and members alike with best-in-class experiences at superior speeds, with the full support of Calix Services to accelerate deployment and adoption. Petit Jean states it is growing its value and differentiating itself from established service providers "with the goal of bringing accessible, affordable, and reliable high-speed internet" to all 14,000 of its members by 2027.

Last year, with the overwhelming support of more than 90 percent of its members, Petit Jean decided to participate in the RDOF auction to secure funds for its FTTH initiative. The cooperative says the new network and services will bring life-changing connectivity to its communities and open the door to seamless online learning, telemedicine, remote work, and other opportunities. Currently, only 11 percent of Arkansans have access to fiber broadband connectivity, according to BroadbandNow as cited by Calix. This disparity is felt keenly within Petit Jean’s rural, nine-county service area which includes Searcy County, whose school districts were severely hampered last year by an internet connectivity gap that worsened the plight of already-struggling students.

“Some of the seniors in our school districts were unable to graduate this year due to the lack of reliable high-speed internet services in their areas,” said Michael Kirkland, general manager of Petit Jean. “When it became clear that RDOF could make this financially feasible for us, we knew we had to jump in with both feet and from the very first meeting, Calix understood exactly what we needed—a future-proof fiber broadband network that was simple and cost-effective to operate, and capable of delivering exciting services at blazing fast speeds to our members. Calix is considered the gold standard in this industry, and we are confident our investment will pay dividends for Petit Jean, helping us grow our value by providing much-needed services to rural Arkansans.”

Once the FTTH network is fully deployed, Calix notes that Petit Jean will benefit from:

  • Lowered operating costs. The new, 2,500-mile FTTH buildout will be powered by the Calix Network Innovation Platform (AXOS) to deliver Always On broadband connectivity. The versatility of the platform enables Petit Jean to embrace an everyPON strategy—in this case, GPON, and then ultimately XGS-PON using the E7-2 Intelligent Modular System for easy and efficient scalability. Calix customers have reduced their operating costs by as much as 50 percent as a result of the platform’s modular architecture.
  • Efficient customer support. Petit Jean will tap the subscriber insights of Calix Support Cloud that are seamlessly integrated with its own branded version of the CommandIQ mobile app, enabling member-led, self-service capabilities, unprecedented in-home network visibility, and operational efficiency, according to Calix. These have resulted in industry-leading benchmarks such as 60 percent truck-roll reductions for other customers.
  • Elevated member experiences. Petit Jean will build a world-class marketing engine, first by using the data in Calix Marketing Cloud to identify and reach each member with targeted service offerings. Then, the CommandIQ mobile app will give the broadband service provider (BSP) the ability to establish a dedicated communications channel with members, and easily deliver EDGE Suites, which feature the fully managed security and parental control capabilities that delight subscribers, with additional exciting services to come.

Petit Jean will rely on the expertise of Calix Services unit to help accelerate network and service planning, deployment, and optimization—specifically Professional ServicesPremier Customer Success Services, and Premier Support Services. The company's field technicians and its customer support team will also undergo training via the Calix EDGE Enablement program. Collectively, these efforts will help Petit Jean accelerate its ability to simplify its operations, excite members, and grow its value, the company said.

“Petit Jean is a shining example of a true greenfield provider that has invested wisely in building the first, and the last, network it will ever need,” concluded Michael Weening, president and chief operating officer of Calix. “With the Intelligent Access EDGE, Petit Jean can rapidly deploy new services on a network that is always on, with premium managed Wi-Fi 6 experiences delivered via the Revenue EDGE that will excite members. The ease of service provisioning and delivery with our cloud-based offerings will smooth the transition into this new broadband business, helping Petit Jean simplify operations and differentiate itself from the incumbents while growing its value as it writes the next chapter of its impressive 80-year history.”

To learn more, view a replay of the recent Calix webinar, “10G Fiber Networks for the Future: Top Considerations From the Experts.”

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