Earlier this year, Chuck Robbins announced Cisco’s shift in vision and purpose to Power an Inclusive Future for All. This is our “commitment to utilize all of our resources and capabilities to work towards long-term partnerships and solutions that make peoples’ lives better.” He also described how, starting with our technology, we can make this happen as a company, and as leaders in our industry.

One actionable way we, as a company, can attain equitable opportunity for all, is through our efforts to make access to high-speed internet available to everyone. On September 9, we unveiled a set of solutions designed to help United States service providers reduce the cost and complexity to extend high-speed broadband services to unserved or underserved rural areas in the country using available U.S. government funding.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share how one of our U.S. service provider customers, Midco, is acting now, using technology and business model innovation to make sure their customers can benefit from access to high speed data – regardless of where they’re located.

Midco is a triple-play service provider, with headquarters in South Dakota, offering cable television, internet, and voice services to customers in North and South Dakota, much of Minnesota, and several communities in Kansas and Wisconsin.

For years Midco has been leading the industry with deployment of cutting-edge technology and business model innovations. Five years ago, it was the first cable provider in North America to deploy Cisco’s cBR-8 Converged Broadband Router, helping to increase network capacity to support high bandwidth services, and simplify operations, among other benefits.

Rural Broadband

Three years ago, it became the first in the world to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 and begin the implementation of Remote PHY (RPHY) into its network. The adoption of RPHY was an important step towards digitizing and expanding its cable access network. By limiting the need for extensive rack space, power, and cooling, Midco was able to reduce costs, simplify operations and more cost-effectively distribute network capabilities. Instead of costly, centralized real estate, Midco could locate network access functionality on utility poles in the neighborhoods it serves.

This year, Midco is further securing its ‘pioneer’ status as our first customer to sign a cable software service provider network agreement (SPNA). An industry first, this enterprise agreement unleashes Midco’s ability to scale higher connection speeds and deploy new services with greater velocity. It will also allow the company to accelerate the transition from legacy CMTS platforms to distributed access architecture (DAA) and next-gen cloud technologies, all at a predictable and economically justified cost.

With the SPNA, Midco will have access to a suite of applications to supplement CMTS management, but most importantly, they have no cost access to the licenses required to deploy additional channels of DOCSIS 3.1 for all locations. Other added benefits of the SPNA include ease and simplification in planning for CAPEX and OPEX.

So, I’m sure you might be wondering ‘how do all of these tech and business model changes translate back to connecting the unconnected?’ I’m glad you asked. The cost efficiencies, coupled with greater network capacity achieved through Midco’s willingness to push the technology envelope and drive the industry forward, are also making it more affordable and simpler to implement in rural areas. Homes and businesses that are usually more difficult and expensive to reach in rural areas can now experience the same great services Midco delivers to its current customers.

I’m so excited about the direction we are headed in the journey to power a more inclusive future. Working alongside forward-thinking customers, like Midco, to continue to bridge the digital divide gets me excited to come to work every day.


Debbie McClure

Senior Director, Mid Market

Americas Service Provider