How Ribbon will bring broadband access to rural US customers

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Tombigbee Electric Cooperative will leverage Ribbon and KGPCo IP optical solutions to bring broadband access to rural customers.

Ribbon Communications, a global provider of real-time communications software and IP Optical networking solutions to service providers, enterprises, and critical infrastructure sectors, has announced that Tombigbee Electric Cooperative, a provider of ultra-high-speed internet and HD phone services to its member customers across Northwest Alabama, has selected Ribbon and KGPCo, the leading network solutions and services supplier to service providers, to upgrade its fibre network and help bring high-speed access to its rural customers. Tombigbee is leveraging Ribbon’s Apollo IP Optical network solution and KGPCo’s hut locations, fibre, routers and Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) access systems to deliver broadband access to member customers in its most rural service areas.   

“We were fortunate enough to be recipients of grants from the federal government’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and CARES Act, and we won’t use these funds to deliver high-speed broadband access to any of our member customers who want it,” said Steve Foshee, CEO of Tombigbee Electric Cooperative. “Many of our members live in previously underserved areas and don’t have access to high-speed internet, so our goal is to make Northwest Alabama a Gigabit Ethernet Zone. Leveraging Ribbon’s advanced IP Optical platform and KGPCo’s industry-leading fibre, routing and access capabilities, we can deliver ultra-high-speed internet access and broadband to all of our customers, regardless of where they live.”

“Funding from the RDOF and CARES Act will go a long way in helping forward-thinking service providers like Tombigbee extend broadband service to those who have previously not had access,” said Steven Bruny, EVP Sales Americas Region for Ribbon. “We are honoured Tombigbee selected our IP Optical solutions to help upgrade their network. We are also extremely pleased to continue our strong partnership with KGPCo and offer Tombigbee an end-to-end turnkey solution.”

Bruny added, “The Apollo’s small form factor with integrated amplifiers and enhanced fibre health management capabilities, which provide early warnings of fibre issues, and pinpoints problems to within a few meters from a centralised network operations centre, make it an ideal solution for rural service providers looking to expand their network reach.”  

“We are proud to work with our partner Ribbon to deliver such a special project and be a key part in helping provide all Tombigbee customers the ability to have high-speed broadband,” said Desi O’Grady, SVP, Service Provider Sales for KGPCo. “Working with Ribbon, we delivered a comprehensive solution that enables Tombigbee to extend the reach of their existing network significantly.”


Using its existing public right of ways and ringed fibre network, Tombigbee leveraged Ribbon and KGPCo solutions to provide extended reach and an efficient, redundant means of carrying rural traffic back to main sites for fast routing to the internet. Now all Tombigbee customers who may have been limited to DSL speeds have access to 1 Gigabit home internet speeds. Ribbon’s Apollo IP optical transport and switching platform allows Tombigbee to optimise network traffic, enhance layer 1 security and lower the cost per bit.

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Luke Conrad

Technology & Marketing Enthusiast