Rural Service Provider Deploys Big City Services to Crystal Falls, MI


IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich., Feb 10, 2017 – The community of Crystal Falls, Michigan, population 1,432, has become the first in Upper Peninsula of Michigan to be offered gigabit-speed Internet through Iron Mountain service provider, Packerland Broadband.

plbbCompared to the Tier 1 operators, Packerland is considered pintsized. Serving 55 rural communities throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Packerland provides over 6,700 subscribers with data, voice, and video services. Since beginning operations in 2007, they have been buying and upgrading coaxial systems and building over 1,200 miles of fiber optic transport. Packerland has certainly achieved their mission to provide advanced communication services to rural communities with their service in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a place often referred to as “God’s Country.” Their gigabit-speed Internet service, now branded as UltraConnect, is the first of this caliber in the region to use DOCSIS 3.1 technology.

When asked why this service provider decided to launch gigabit Internet in a community in the middle of the woods, Packerland Vice President, Cory Heigl responded, “It made sense. The opportunity presented itself and we wanted to prove to everyone that this could be done—that any operator, of any size, anywhere can deploy DOCSIS 3.1 in their footprint.”

So how did they do it? Although they’re a tiny service provider in the north woods, Packerland employs a progressive mindset. They recognized that by utilizing Cisco’s industry leading cBR-8 CCAP technology to deploy DOCSIS 3.1, and with the help of solution integrator, CCI Systems, they could design, build, and deploy the architecture needed for a successful launch. CCI provided the engineering expertise, knowledge, and ability to develop a solution that would work with Packerland’s existing RF network, and their budget.

“DOCSIS 3.1 wasn’t necessary, they could have gone with DOCSIS 3.0 and been just as well off. We chose 3.1 to prepare for the future needs of Packerland’s subscribers,” stated CCI’s Director of Access and Media Solutions, Todd Gingrass, who led the solution design at CCI. “Using DOCSIS 3.1 technology, and building it on Cisco’s cBR-8 platform, helped save money and set them up for future Remote PHY Distributed Access expansions. The most valuable part of an operator’s network today is the RF spectrum, so being efficient with its use is paramount for not only today but a successful future. DOCSIS 3.1 is a technology that allows more speed to be delivered in the same amount of spectrum. It can be easily delivered without a costly upgrade to the network, again saving capital that can be spent elsewhere and faster time to revenue for the operator.”

“CCI was a great partner to have on this project. They worked with us on creating a solution that utilized our existing equipment and architecture, yet they brought the expertise needed to bring it all together,” notes Heigl.

The City of Crystal Falls, Michigan, is expecting to gain an economic value by offering gigabit speeds to business and residents in their community. As the need for “smart everything” grows, so does the demand for bandwidth and a constant connection.

“We wanted to future-proof the Crystal Falls community, to be ready for a world where advancements in bandwidth hungry applications in the realms of 4K video, virtual reality, telemedicine, online education, and the Internet of Things are possible,” says Heigl. “This community is ready.” Heigl continues, “With CCI’s foresight the stage is set for growth among more communities in 2017.”



CCI Systems provides across-the-network communication solutions to service providers, health care, educational, power, and hospitality industries. With over 60 years of experience consulting, engineering, constructing, integrating, and supporting complex communication networks, CCI delivers flexible custom solutions for all network platforms.

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Found in 2007 and based in Iron Mountain, MI, Packerland Broadband provides modern telecommunications services in 55 rural communities throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For more information visit www.packerlandbroadband.com.