Press Release

Alabama is investing over $300 million with several last- and middle-mile providers to expand an open access middle-mile network throughout the State, allocating a significant portion of American Rescue Plan Act dollars toward a middle- and last-mile broadband initiative. One beneficiary of this investment is the Alabama Fiber Network (AFN), a coalition of eight rural electric cooperatives.  

AFN is leasing dark fiber and building new fiber infrastructure to deploy a network that will span over 5,000 linear miles with interconnect points in all 67 counties. The coalition will work with last-mile providers in rural Alabama to bring robust, scalable, and affordable connectivity to unserved and underserved areas.

AFN has selected Ciena as its optical networking vendor for the converged IP/optical middle-mile network, which leverages Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Nano (WL5n) 400G Coherent Pluggable Transceivers and 6500 Reconfigurable Line System (RLS). 

“Through AFN’s middle-mile network, last-mile providers will have the scalable bandwidth they require to bring high-speed broadband to underserved and unserved Alabamians,” said Terry Metze, Chief Executive Officer at Alabama Fiber Network. “With Alabama’s future in mind, we wanted to use the best coherent pluggable technology available for our needs and eliminate expensive signal regeneration across the state—and that is what we got with Ciena’s industry-leading WaveLogic 5 Nano.” 

“As a critical contributor to ‘Be Linked Alabama,’ Alabama Fiber Network plays a sizeable role in providing the essential infrastructure that will open up a world of new possibilities for connectivity and digital inclusion—for economic development, healthcare, and education,” said Steve Alexander, Chief Technology Officer at Ciena. “This helps narrow the digital divide and connect Alabama to the future.” 

WL5n QSFP-DD pluggable performance enables AFN to deploy transceivers in various industry routers and minimize the cost and power per bit for transporting broadband traffic around the state, even across 1,000km distances. The modern, flexible 6500 RLS offers simple connectivity to any location, with the ability to evolve to new technologies in the future using the same photonic infrastructure. Additionally, AFN is leveraging Ciena’s Navigator Network Control Suite for simplified management of the converged network, Ciena Services for full turnkey services, including implementation and solution validation, and Ciena’s Marketing as a Service program to aid subscriber acquisition efforts.

Press Release

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