Airspan Networks and Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative Announce $19 Million Contract for Next-Generation Broadband Depl

Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative is to use Airspan 4G equipment to deploy broadband wireless access networks in southern Virginia, USA.

Airspan, based in Boca Raton, is a 4G wireless solution provider, trading on the Pinksheets (PINKSHEETS: AIRO). Airspan has customers throughout the US and in over 100 countries. ( see the Airspan website www.airspan.com )

The Telephone Cooperative will use two infrastructure grants it received, to deliver wireless broadband Internet access to residents and businesses in fifteen counties in south central Virginia. The grants include a government Broadband Stimulus award of $18.9 million dollars by the United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and a $3.9 million dollar grant from Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

The project will provide 100 per cent coverage of residents and businesses in the Federal Communications Commission licensed serving area, offering a minimum of 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second) of service and up to 10 Mbps. The primary deployment phase will be completed within 12 months and has a projected subscriber base of upward of 30,000 customers within five years. Availability of access to broadband connectivity is one of the key elements for economic growth in the region. In addition, by creating this new business division, BIT will create 64 direct new jobs — mostly in Mecklenburg and Brunswick Counties.

Built with Airspan’s reputable product offering, the network consists of Airspan’s Air4G base station, a compact, all-outdoor, Macro unit. The network is also supplemented for in-fill coverage with AirSynergy, a Pico base station with integrated backhaul. This next-generation dual-band network operates in both 700 megahertz (MHz) and 3.65 gigahertz (GHz) frequency bands. Due to its natural propagation characteristics, the 700 MHz product allows for optimum coverage and range, requiring fewer base stations and minimizing deployment costs.

“We are very excited to bring Airspan’s advanced technology to our region and service community,” commented Mickey L. Sims, General Manager at BIT. “With the support of the ARRA and Virginia Tobacco Commission funding programs, we have a vision of increasing broadband services in these underserved markets, reaching a previously unreachable population and allowing further expansion into rural Virginia. The speed-to-market enabled by Airspan not only supports the government’s stimulus goals but will also assist us in achieving our business model objectives and providing broadband for everyone. BIT expects to be substantially built out by late March, 2012.”

With over 50 years of experience, BIT has continued to serve south central Virginia with telephone services, Internet access, and retail computer sales, repair and services along with the Cooperative’s well-known regional telephone directory. The company applied for Broadband Stimulus funds in 2009 in order to widely expand their service offerings to rural and underserved areas of the region.

“Airspan is very excited to work with BIT to bring broadband services to Virginia residents,” commented Amit Ancikovsky, President of Products and Sales at Airspan Networks. “Airspan is able to provide BIT with a turnkey solution that is quick-to-deploy, cost effective and will maximize the network’s return on investment.”

Airspan products provide 4G WiMAX and LTE solutions operating in the 700 MHz up to 5.9 GHz bands.