About the customer

Panhandle Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (PTCI) is the first Gig Certified internet service provider in Oklahoma, offering affordable fiber-optic high-speed internet along with home and business phone services. Established in 1954, PTCI is headquartered in Guymon, Oklahoma, and serves rural residential and business customers in the Oklahoma Panhandle and parts of northern Texas. PTCI is dedicated to enhancing connectivity and fostering growth in rural communities.

Industry: Rural CSP
Location: Oklahoma, US
Solution: ROADMs, network management software, transponders & muxponders
Products: DCP-R ROADMs, SoSmart, DCP-1203 transponders, DCP-110 10x10G muxponders.

The challenge

Bringing neighboring communities along for ride on internet freeway

Service provider PTCI has a reputation for providing solid connectivity to rural communities in the Oklahoma Panhandle. Some neighboring communities in Oklahoma and Texas were less fortunate, suffering from redundancy issues, ineffective local carriers or adverse weather.  

Some of these communities, including institutions of higher education and other public facilities with a high need for reliable connectivity, began approaching PTCI. They wanted to check whether it would be possible to pass through PTCI’s solid network to improve their situation. 

“We've always had a layer 2 network with three rings. But now, to accommodate the requests we received, we decided to create an internet freeway.  The network elements to power this freeway would need to be reasonably priced, easy to manage, and flexible enough for a multi-vendor environment. After some evaluation, it was clear that ROADMs would be best to provide the flexibility needed for this, but we needed to find an easy way to manage them,” says Randy Yell, Broadband Network & Data Services Manager, PTCI.

Picture of Randy Yell

Seeing how easy it was to use SoSmart was key factor in choosing Smartoptics ROADMs. I appreciate that I can quickly and easily onboard people who are not familiar with the software. Based on price, functionality and ease of use, I don’t know a better vendor than Smartoptics.

Randy Yell, Broadband Network & Data Services Manager, PTCI

The Solution

The easiest way to manage ROADMsSoSmart

To find the best solution, PTCI was comparing multiple vendors and engaged in a dialogue with Smartoptics. A key factor in the selection process was a demo of the SoSmart software suite for open network management. 

“After seeing how easy it was to use SoSmart live in the demo, the decision to go with Smartoptics ROADMs was much easier,” Randy explains. 

Today, PTCI engineers use SoSmart Planner to check the distances and speeds that can be attained in different scenarios. This makes it possible to see if any additional network elements need to be added in between points to secure the right speed. Being able to plan these routes simply and accurately is especially helpful for the long distances typical of a rural broadband service provider like PTCI. 

“The software suite overall, but especially SoSmart Planner, is the easiest thing we have seen and solid as could be. I can quickly onboard people who are not familiar with the software. They can use the planner to build out what they want in the network, execute with very few steps involved and save time with automatic provisioning,” says Randy.

Cost-efficient flexibility to break free from vendor lock-in

PTCI has deployed the 10-node Smartoptics DCP-R family of ROADMs to its network connecting sites in northern Texas with the Oklahoma Panhandle. The DCP-1203 transponder and DCP-110 muxponder are also used to load 100G and 10G traffic onto the network. The openness and proven interoperability of the Smartoptics solution makes it easier for PTCI to connect with the networks of the neighboring communities. 

“Being able to avoid recurring costs from alien wavelength fees is a huge advantage with Smartoptics. We just pay upfront for the solution, and then we’re good to go. The compact network elements also help us reduce our energy and rack footprint. Another key factor was the OTDR option in the DCP-R ROADMs, allowing us to see a break in the fiber between two lines. Based on price, functionality and ease of use, I don’t know a better vendor than Smartoptics,” says Randy.

The Result

Ongoing dialogue and deployment for long-term success

PTCI will continuously deploy more Smartoptics equipment, upgrading more sections of the network to 100/400G and progressing with the projects to accommodate neighboring communities. 

“In our experience, especially being a rural provider, vendors are usually only eager to speak with us before we place an order. But we were pleasantly surprised that Smartoptics always seems happy to talk to us. In fact, our sales contact literally went the extra mile, driving six hours to come and see us in person. It’s clear that Smartoptics cares about us as their customers and passionately believes in their products. This certainly inspires confidence in us,” says Randy.

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