negotiationA  Missouri-based telecom cooperative and a neighboring electric cooperative are combining resources to bring fiber-to-the-home service supporting speeds up to 1 Gbps to communities in their area that currently can’t get high-speed broadband.

The electric company is Callaway Electric Service Company, L.L.C., a subsidiary of Callaway Electric Cooperative, and the telco is Kingdom Telephone Cooperative. Together, the companies have formed Callabyte Technology, LLC, through which they will offer the broadband service.

According to Kingdom Telephone Company General Manager Renee Reeter, Callaway Electric Cooperative will build the mainline infrastructure, while Kingdom Telephone Cooperative will install the electronics in the field that will make service operational, as well as the drop to the home and the customer premises equipment.

“We will bill subscribers through the [Callabyte] LLC and share profit based on investment,” Reeter explained in an interview.

Electric – Telco Partnership
Kingdom Telephone Cooperative is the incumbent carrier in several exchanges, where the company already has begun to deploy FTTH supporting speeds up to 1 Gbps. Callaway Electric Cooperative is the electrical service provider throughout parts of Kingdom’s ILEC territory and surrounding areas.

The Callabyte Technology LLC will focus on bringing broadband to areas without broadband availability that are in Callaway Electric Cooperative’s service area but where Kingdom Telephone is not the ILEC. In the future the Callabyte Technology, LLC also may add voice and video services, Reeter said.

“The two coops were very close,” commented Reeter. “They are in the same county and have known each other for quite some time.” Callaway Electric Cooperative, she said, “wanted to bring broadband to their customers that we didn’t serve.”

The infrastructure that is being deployed to support the electric – telco partnership ultimately could also help support smart grid capability for Callaway Electric Cooperative, Reeter noted.

The partners already did a pilot test of the broadband technology, which will use equipment from Calix, in a cluster of homes near a location belonging to the electric cooperative. In the pilot test, the broadband service got a take rate of 50% and Reeter is hopeful that the broader roll-out will see similar results.

In addition to symmetrical gigabit service, Kingdom Telephone Cooperative offers symmetrical 500 Mbps and symmetrical 100 Mbps service – and the Callabyte Technology, LLC will match those offerings.

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