Did you know that North Dakota is one of the most wired-for-fiber regions in the U.S.? It ranks sixth in the country for fiber-optic penetration according to a 2021 report from BroadbandNow. This has resulted in the state, which is sparsely populated but the 19th largest in land size, earning the moniker ‘crown jewel of the internet’ in the Midwest.
But how did North Dakota achieve this feat? Government funding played a role, as did good old initiative on the part of rural co-ops of local service providers—including the Dakota Carrier Network (DCN)—of which 116-year-old MLGC is an owner. MLGC, together with DCN and 13 other independent rural telecoms companies in North Dakota, have made significant investments in the state’s fiber infrastructure.
A fourth-generation, family-owned rural local exchange carrier (RLEC), MLGC’s beginnings hearken back to the days of switchboards and hand-crank telephones. The carrier has an enterprising history—it led an effort in the 80s to provide North Dakotans with the best internet speeds available by laying fiber underground. Fast-forward to today and you’ll find MLGC using a 100% fiber-optic network to connect its residential and business customers to the world.
The carrier isn’t resting on its laurels, however. It’s always looking to the future. “Our goal is to deliver transformative technologies and services that make the rural communities in North Dakota vibrant places in which to live and do business,” said Tyler Kilde, President and General Manager of MLGC.
Known primarily for energy and agriculture, North Dakota also has fast-growing manufacturing and technology sectors. Reliable internet and cloud-based connectivity is central to the communication, collaboration and entertainment needs of its communities—everything from smart devices and video streaming in the home to Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and technologies in connected farms and factories.
It’s for this reason that MLGC sought to replace an aging transport network with a Coherent Routing solution from Ciena.
Ciena solutions supporting MLGC
For its new network, MLGC is deploying Ciena’s 5164 Router, 8110 Coherent Aggregation Router, 8114 Coherent Aggregation Router and WaveLogic 5 Nano coherent pluggable optics. With these coherent routing platforms, MLGC is dramatically streamlining its IP/optical network, enabling the support of all traffic flows, including new use cases like 5G, broadband and cloud—all while realizing operational and energy efficiencies and maximizing ROI.
Gaining unprecedented multilayer visibility, coordination and control, the carrier is using Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller and Adaptive IP™ Apps for real-time visibility into routing behaviors. Supporting its customer-centric focus, MLGC can now identify any issues with ease and resolve them quickly.
“With our new future-forward, multilayer network, we’re well equipped to handle the cloudification of apps and services and provide our enterprise and residential customers with tuned performance, optimized SLAs and unsurpassed quality of experience,” remarked Kilde.
He added: “Technology’s influence in our lives is deep and wide, touching every industry and North Dakotan. Ciena’s solution makes it possible for MLGC to deliver powerful digital experiences for a smarter, more connected world.”