OTELCO, a pioneer independent telecom, announced it is investing more than $5 million to improve broadband connectivity in Alabama. The initiative will add 113-miles to the company’s fiber-to-the-premise network to the City of Arab, Alabama, resulting in fiber availability to 4,100 additional locations. Construction will begin in June 2019 and be complete by early 2020. In addition to new fiber broadband construction, OTELCO unveiled a new broadband deployment strategy to substantially increase connectivity speeds for all Internet customers.
“Most of our Alabama customers were getting 12 Mbps or less from us earlier this year. The ones getting VDSL will have between 25 and 50 Mbps, and the ones getting fiber and cable will have up to 1000 Mbps available. These are game-changer speed increases for many rural customers,” said company vice president Trevor Jones.
“This year, OTELCO began a major initiative to rethink our broadband deployment strategy in an effort to deliver the greatest improvement to the largest number of our customers in the shortest time frame. By investing in fiber expansion and major upgrades to our cable and DSL networks, we are committed to bringing more bandwidth to all of our customers by this time next year.”
OTELCO’s backstory is a history of the Alabama telecommunications industry. Starting as Brindlee Mountain Telephone, a local phone company based in Arab, it became DeltaCom, one of the first long-distance companies enabled by the breakup of the AT&T monopoly. DeltaCom’s success was boosted by a contract with Huntsville’s SCI Systems. Merged in 1996 with West Point, Georgia-based ITC Holding Co. Inc. to become ITC DeltaCom, company became an alternative local exchange company, competing for local business after the divestiture of the BellSouth monopoly, especially by carving out contracts in the most profitable, business-to-business, segment of the market. OTELCO became a public company in June 2005.
Based in Oneonta, Alabama, the company owns small, independent telephone companies in West Virginia, Missouri, Maine, Massachusetts, and Alabama. Among the top 50 largest local exchange carriers in the United States.
In the last 18 months OTELCO stock has been aggressively purchased by Miami-based investor tycoon Ira Sochet.