By – Jordan Dagenais, Marketing Administrator

In the summer of 2018, CCI Systems began a multi-phase project to launch a new municipality-wide Broadband Network in Mont Belvieu, Texas. The project involved the design of a completely new network for the entire 5,000-resident municipality from start to finish.

The idea to develop the new Broadband Network began in 2016 when a feasibility study was issued to all residents. The study revealed that “60 percent of residents and 79 percent of businesses felt that local Internet access wasn’t adequate and also showed that 90 percent of residents and 100 percent of business respondents felt that high-speed Internet access is an essential service, much like electricity and water.”

“Choosing [CCI] was a no-brainer,” said Mont Belvieu Broadband Network Engineer Dwight Thomas. “There are hundreds of companies who do enterprise-level work, but no one understands the service provider level like CCI.”

“Once we got involved with the city and understood their needs, we quickly realized that they were in need of a complete, carrier grade network architecture,” said CCI Systems’ Distinguished Engineer Todd Gingrass. This was not only a project to build the Fiber-to-the-Premise access network, but also designing and integrating the IP Core, back-office hand-offs, and top-of-mind items like overall network security. Our goal is to create seamless, solution-based networks that operators can use to provide best-in-class services to their subscribers.”

CCI Systems chose industry best-in-class building blocks to create the overall solution architecture. Utilizing companies like Cisco for the Core IP Network, Arbor for security, and Calix for the Fiber-to-the-Premise portion, CCI created a scalable network that would meet the needs of Mont Belvieu subscribers both today and in the future.

“It was simple to see that we needed to design and deploy a carrier-grade IP Core that would fit the technical requirements of Mont Belvieu as well as their budget since they are not a large existing operator,” said CCI Systems’ Sr. Sales Engineer Tim Calvin. “Scalability is a major factor, so the Cisco ASR9000 platform was exactly what they needed to offer the right services today and allow growth into tomorrow.”

Tim also noted, “Security is a big concern for everyone. It was clear that the biggest threat to Mont Belvieu was not just hackers and basic network security, but helping prevent DDOS attacks.” In order to combat this issue, CCI’s team implemented Arbor SP, which allows for proactive protection against security threats with features such as network security, visibility, and threat management. “There was a definite piece of mind for [Mont Belvieu] knowing that they don’t have to manually react to any attacks,” said Calvin. “They were really pleased with the proactive approach.”

For the Fiber-to-the-Premise portion of the network, CCI Systems deployed the Calix E7-2 platform. “It has always been a simple choice to use Calix in our solution sets for operators because they provide the most technically capable GPON product sets for both hardware and management software,” said Nate Czerwan, Sr. Sales Engineer at CCI Systems.  “As an operator, this is the portion of the network that touches your subscribers. You need it to be full-featured and allow for the ability to offer extra value-added services. Having the ability to also offer services like whole-home managed Wi-Fi are key to keeping happy subscribers.”

During the start-up of the project, CCI engineers assisted onsite with all of the technologies involved in order to ensure a seamless network and a successful initial launch. As the project continues through its phases, CCI continues to help Mont Belvieu with additional equipment and any support needed. Because of the success of the project to date, the initial take rate has tripled from 250 customers to over 800.

“For anyone who wants to get into the municipality business, I’ll always recommend CCI,” said Thomas. “Working with them has been great, and this project serves as a great blueprint for future municipality projects.”

For more information on the Mont Belvieu project, click here.