SouthernLINC Wireless to Launch LTE Service in 3 Markets in Mid-2016
Thursday, August 06, 2015 | Comments

SouthernLINC Wireless announced plans to offer Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced data services to Southern Co. utilities and to local businesses and government in the utilities' service territories. The first LTE Release 10 broadband service offerings will be available in Atlanta and Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in mid-2016.

SouthernLINC is constructing a new 4G LTE Advanced network to meet the growing mission-critical data needs of its largest customer, Southern Co.'s electric utilities. The 800 MHz network will have the capacity to serve the most crucial data needs of area businesses and local government as well. The new 4G LTE Advanced network will offer network encryption over the air and from SouthernLINC's towers to the network's core data centers. Wireless carriers do not commonly offer this level of security, SouthernLINC said in a statement.

In addition, the company is beefing up emergency backup power capabilities with hydrogen fuel cell technology at key locations and is adding main power and core data center redundancy to increase the reliability of the new network. Earlier this year, Plug Power executed a multiyear contract with SouthernLINC for its ReliOn integrated fuel cell solution and GenFuel hydrogen services at up to 500 LTE sites.

"Our new 4G LTE Advanced network will take LINC's history of reliability to a new level,” said Tami Barron, SouthernLINC Wireless president and CEO. “Businesses and local government in our service area will have the opportunity to transmit vital data across our new high-speed, highly reliable and encrypted LTE network. As companies and jurisdictions look for ways to transmit data as securely as possible, our LTE network will be a great option for them."

Construction is underway for the first phase of network deployment, which will bring fixed data services to metro Atlanta, the I-20 corridor from Atlanta to Birmingham, and to Tuscaloosa County in mid-2016. Ericsson is providing the radio access network (RAN) and evolved packet cores, and Cisco is providing the multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) equipment.

In 2017, LTE data services will expand to the greater Montgomery area and across all of Georgia Power's service territory. In 2018, LTE data services will be available in all service territories of Southern Co.'s electric utilities.

SouthernLINC has an LTE roaming agreement with Sprint.

SouthernLINC Wireless continues to invest in its existing iDEN wireless network. The network delivers push-to-talk (PTT) group radio, cellular and packet data services chosen by Southern Company utilities, area first responders and regional businesses. The company is on track to spend more than $1 million this year to enhance iDEN coverage and safeguard network performance levels.

SouthernLINC officials said last year they would keep the iDEN network operating through at least 2018. Mission-critical PTT voice service will not be available in LTE until Release 13.

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