68-Year-Old Telephone Company Modernizes to Deliver High-Speed Internet to Rural Alabama


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    Just south of Montgomery, in Greenville, Alabama, residents take part in such annual events as the Watermelon Jubilee, Sweet Potato Festival, and Hank Williams Day. It’s enough good ol’ fashioned fun to make any city slicker envious. Of course, bog down a city slicker’s Internet access—heck, anyone’s Internet access—and the envy fades fairly fast. After all, sweet potato pies are so much tastier when you can Instagram them first. More importantly, though, Internet is essential if you want to get the word out about all your wholesome community events. No one knows this better than Camellia Communications (CC), a local telephone company big on community involvement. Perhaps that’s why it recently partnered with Texas-based networking solution company iPhotonix to deliver fiber-optic connectivity to its residential subscribers.

    According to an August press release, CC will use iPhotonix’s iVolve technology, “the world’s first multiple system operable optical access platform,” to provide Greenville and Fort Deposit area residents with Fiber-to-the-Home connectivity. This will enable the telco to supplement its phone service with high-speed Internet and digital TV—all of which are proving essential to rural and suburban areas as such offerings allow communities to “stay connected and stimulate economic opportunity locally, as well as be a part of a more highly connected business community.” These conclusions are only bolstered by the recent National Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Center (NARDeP) survey, which found high-speed Internet access strengthens rural economies.

    In addition to improving service to its current customer base, CC’s use of iPhotonix’s iVolve solution will enable the telco to expand its market, while addressing the ever-growing demand for broadband Internet access. According to the press release, both CC and iPhotonix are excited and proud to be opening rural Alabama to “a world of new possibilities and global opportunities.” And while iPhotonix’s résumé is certainly impressive for a five-year-old Texas optical network termination pioneer, this story is especially sweet for CC, which has served as a Greenville staple since 1946 “when it consisted of a switchboard and 50 customers.” My, how far this switchboard has come. Of course, I’m sure even then the people of CC were as involved in the community as they are today. (Sweet spud pies don’t make themselves, after all.) Now, though, the telco can do more than participate; it can ensure residents can spread the word—and fast—about the wholesome, southern goodness that is Greenville to anyone—city slickers included—looking to visit, relocate, or start a business there.

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