EarthLink has completed Phase I of the Eastern Tennessee middle mile fiber broadband project by its business communications segment EarthLink Business.

In March of 2010, DeltaCom, now an EarthLink Business company, was awarded the $9.4 million in federal stimulus funding by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to enable the network expansion. The Phase I network expansion includes a 343-mile overbuild of an existing diverse fiber optic route from Nashville to Knoxville and the addition of a new diverse fiber optic route from Knoxville to Chattanooga. This network expansion is now ready for wholesale SONET intercity transport service. Deployment of a new diverse fiber optic route from Knoxville to Blountville is underway and targeted to be ready for SONET transport service by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

The final phase of the project, targeted for completion in the third quarter of 2011, includes the addition of five new interconnection points, including Cookeville, Oak Ridge, Cleveland, Sweetwater and Morristown, Tennessee. These communities are located in counties designated as underserved.

The new network will not only enable broadband access for a number of core community institutions, including education and healthcare providers, but also allow Internet service providers to connect to the EarthLink network for intercity transport service. Combined with recent corporate acquisitions, this fiber broadband expansion also allows EarthLink Business to further expand network coverage and continue to build nationwide connectivity for businesses with locations across the U.S.

When complete, this federal grant-funded project will comprise a fiber optic network of more than 500 miles in Eastern Tennessee, which will provide middle mile broadband services to carrier customers, community anchor institutions, and last mile service providers in speeds up to 10 Gbps.

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