Lynx Network Group, which is building an open access fiber network that will cover a large part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, has chosen a packet-optical transport platform (P-OTP) from Cyan to deliver native Ethernet services over the network. Lynx plans to deliver services at speeds up to 10 Gbps to office parks and other business locations. In addition, the network will support connectivity to government facilities and cell towers, as well as wholesale network capacity for other carriers.

Lynx is one of several partners in the REACH Michigan Middle Mile Collaborative project, which will be funded, in part, through a $33.3 billion broadband stimulus grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that was awarded in January 2010. Project partners–including Merit Network,, the Iserv Company and TC3Net–will contribute an additional $8.3 million to the project.

According to the NTIA project summary, Merit Network has built and run networks for anchor institutions throughout Michigan for 43 years to support the education and not-for-profit community. Merit currently operates 1600 fiber miles, including the Michigan Lamba Rail academic and research network. The REACH project will expand the reach of the network by more than 50%, adding 955 route miles.

According to the Lynx Network Group website, three telecom industry veterans organized the company in 2003, initially acting as an agent selling data services for Internet service providers for a Midwest-based CLEC. Since then the company has expanded to also offer “wholesale services to carriers in the cellular and long haul fiber industry.”

It’s not clear from the website what network resources of its own the company has currently. According to a promotional piece for the company’s dedicated private line transport services, the company uses “the nation’s most trusted and respected networks” and leverages “the services of multiple Tier 1 carriers to achieve the best network solution suited to your company size and needs.”

The company is Michigan-based, however, and that appears to have been an important factor in its participation in the project, as all four partners are based in Michigan. Republican U.S. Congressman Fred Upton, who represents the area around Kalamazoo where Lynx is based and is also Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was a strong supporter of the project. In a quote on the Lynx website, Upton praises Merit Network and Lynx for “their visionary venture that will create scores of new jobs and boost our local and state economy.”

In addition to the Cyan Z-series P-OTP, Lynx also plans to use Cyan 360 software and software-as-a-service suite and Cyan PRO professional services.

“This state-of-the-art network is capable of delivering the types of demanding services increasingly called for by business and wholesale customers, especially wireless operators,” said Christopher J. Barber, co-owner of Lynx, in this week’s announcement about the Cyan equipment. “In addition to extremely high capacity Ethernet services, we’re able to satisfy the low-latency requirements that are essential for competitive LTE backhaul offerings. These capabilities will allow us to deliver services to rural areas previously available only in more densely populated urban markets.”

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