DZS, the global leader of cloud software solutions driven by access, optics and artificial intelligence, and its strategic partner Irby Utilities (Irby) announced that they would cooperate with Connect2First, a subsidiary of First Electric Cooperative, and Cabot, Arkansas, to establish the high-speed optical fiber Internet and telephone network owned by the first city in Arkansas. Cabot City and Connect2First will leverage Irby’s expertise in broadband network planning and deployment, as well as cutting-edge DZS access and subscriber edge fiber optic access solutions, to provide next-generation digital communication services driven by a 10 gigabit per second symmetric passive optical network (XGS-PON) to over 26000 residents and businesses in Cabot City.
Hundreds of users have obtained world-class broadband connections from this network with gigabit service capabilities, which will run over 220 miles of fiber optic cable throughout the entire community. This groundbreaking $20 million project is fully funded locally without federal or state subsidies, and has recently been awarded the “Annual Plan” by the Arkansas branch of the American Planning Association, laying the foundation for similar projects to be implemented in Arkansas and other rural cities across the country.DZS
Ken Kincaid, mayor of Cabot, said: “This unique project is the first such project in Arkansas. In Arkansas, a municipal authority has established its own optical fiber network and cooperated with local ISPs to provide high-speed optical fiber Internet services for its voters. Cabot is very happy to take advantage of the mature expertise of Connect2First, which has carried out business in the city and is currently providing highly valued and reliable services for the surrounding areas. Our goal is to bring world-class experience to our citizens, enterprises and anchor institutions. So when Connect2First shares that Irby and DZS are key contributors to their success so far, we are very happy It is easy to choose to incorporate them into our projects to maintain consistency and peace of mind.”
Candace Looper, Sales and Marketing Director of Connect2First, said, “It is inspiring to see forward thinking and ambitious rural cities like Cabot come up with innovative methods to bring extraordinary communication services and experiences to residents and businesses. We are very proud to help Cabot bridge the digital divide and improve the quality of life for voters.”

Patrick Reams, Vice President of Technology and Communications at Irby, said, “Cabot City and Connect 2First are raising the threshold for deploying the latest fiber optic technology in rural areas. We are working closely with DZS on this project, as well as nearly a dozen other strategic projects, to provide high-quality broadband services to nearly 500000 households in the United States. Our team is excited about this initiative between municipal authorities and regional utilities. We look forward to others emulating the outstanding model implemented by Cabot City and Connect 2First using our expertise and DZS technology.”
Gunter Reiss, chief account officer of DZS AEMEA, said: “Cabot City and Connect2First are using DZS technology to bring the fastest gigabit Internet speed to their customers through their cutting-edge networks. Irby and DZS have good records in the successful broadband deployment of American power cooperatives and municipal authorities, and we have brought first-class broadband and economic opportunities to rural and remote communities. We are honored to be part of this award-winning project, and look forward to its continued success.”
DZS and Irby are closely collaborating with Connect 2First and Cabot cities to strategically plan and rapidly deploy cutting-edge access and user edge solutions as part of the new fiber optic network. This includes:
DZS speed broadband access edge system. This project uses DZS Velocity V14, V6, and V2 multi terabit and environment reinforced Fiber to Home (FTTP) fiber optic line terminals (OLT). The characteristics of the Velocity product portfolio are line cards that support multiple gigabit services, utilizing gigabit passive optical network (GPON), XGS-PON, and 10 gigabit point-to-point Ethernet technology.
DZS Helix subscriber edge solution. This project uses DZS Helix 5222 XGS-PON ONTs and 1664 WiFi 6 EasyMesh access points to provide wired connections within homes and businesses, as well as WiFi coverage for the entire home.
DZS and Irby help power cooperatives, municipalities, and other broadband innovators prepare for the future of broadband. Their system has industry-leading capacity, futuristic performance, and an open architecture designed to seamlessly adapt to multi vendor scenarios and emerging service requirements. DZS and Irby also demonstrated excellent records in supporting their joint clients to leverage government programs such as RDOF, Care Act, ReConnect loans and grants, as well as capital project funds to launch their business plans and position a hyper connected world for their communities.