Bringing big tech to small towns

logo-cable-horizontal_GLOWLiving in urban areas brings an expectation that easy access to the all of today’s modern conveniences is a given. Everything from fine dining to health care facilities to wired Internet networks are taken for granted and certainly easier for companies to serve in places where population density exists.

But while you may not find haute cuisine or even a doctor’s office within miles of many small American towns, what you will find is wired high-speed Internet connections that are enabling consumers to stay connected just like their urban peers.

Connecting modern broadband networks across vast states with diverse terrain – like Alaska for instance – certainly pose significant challenges, including scaling mountain ranges and digging trenches in forests where no roads exist.

GCI, a cable and broadband provider in Alaska, tackled this challenge by combining high-capacity fiber optic lines with wireless microwave facilities that now enable remote Southwest Alaskan villagers to enjoy a new world of connectivity. And the company just announced that it would be building a gigabit network in Anchorage by 2015.

Kansas is home to one of the country’s smallest cable providers, Eagle Communications. It’s a 270 person employee-owned company serving just 18,000 rural Kansans in 32 different communities. Yet despite the vast distances that it can take to wire rural communities, 99 percent of the homes have access to powerful broadband connections.

CAPTION: See how BendBroadband is not only revolutionizing how the Internet is delivered to small communities, but also how high-tech broadband is reducing its carbon footprint.

Perhaps one of America’s most innovative small Internet providers is Oregon’s BendBroadband. The company was not only the first to provide broadband service in Oregon, it also pioneered the delivery of high-speed Internet connections to rural areas via a fixed 4G wireless network.

And BendBroadband has built one of the nation’s greenest data centers, a structure called The Vault. It’s a data center that utilizes a number of unique energy-saving techniques like using old denim as a wall insulator and a massive 12-ton cooling wheel instead of additional air conditioning. The Vault shows how innovation resides not only in Internet technology itself but how it can be delivered to thousands of rural residents.