Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) has contracted with Fujitsu to be the system integrator for its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project, which began in 2012 with broadband stimulus funding.

The new broadband network will cover roughly 3,000 square miles in northern New Mexico’s rural, underserved counties of Taos, Colfax, and Rio Arriba. The fiber project is being funded with a $64M grant from the U.S. Rural Utilities Service.

The co-op is installing the fiber alongside its existing electrical infrastructure. KCEC claims electrical 29,000 connections.

KCEC’s FTTH will end up being used not only for Internet access, voice over IP, and eventually video services, but also for a Smart Grid project that KCEC has planned. The Smart Grid project will feature an advanced metering infrastructure and real-time detection of power outages. Potential benefits include energy efficiency and advanced services.

Fujitsu said it helped KCEC evolve its FTTH plans by identifying more advanced, modular technology solutions that had become available since the co-op made its original technology selections. For example, Fujitsu suggested implementing Ethernet and gigabit passive optical networks (GPON).

An Ethernet-based core infrastructure connects the electrical power substations and GPON is used in the access networks to deliver 100 Mbps in broadband connectivity to residents and 1 Gbps to schools, hospitals and government agencies, the vendor said.

Luis Reyes, chief executive officer and general manager of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, said of Fujitsu, “Their vendor-agnostic approach, ability to integrate networking technology solutions from multiple manufacturers, and proven program management methodology are vital to our project’s success. Together, KCEC and Fujitsu are building a broadband infrastructure that will provide the foundation necessary to drive economic growth, create stronger communities, improve educational opportunities, and give citizens better access to healthcare.”

At completion, the KCEC network will allow greater bandwidth and capacity for applications such as telemedicine, teleconferencing and video sharing among 29 communities, 3,600 businesses, 29,000 homes and 183 community institutions, including two Native American Pueblos.