IBM Global Financing Speeds Up Broadband Access To Rural America

September 13, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

IBM Global Financing announced that it has recently reached a new financing arrangement that would help accelerate customer access to high speed Internet in rural areas.

The funding agreement would benefit Broadband over Power Line (BPL) technology provider International Broadband Electric Communications, Inc. (IBEC) and one of its leading integrated chip (IC) suppliers, DS2. IBEC has developed technology that would deliver broadband access over electric power lines. IBEC is currently working with local electric utility cooperatives to build out a broadband network throughout parts of rural America, predominantly in the South, East and Midwest. Presently, IBEC delivers high-speed Internet access and provides 24/7/365 customer service to the cooperatives’ consumer-membership.

IBM Global Financing has entered into a financing agreement with DS2, which provides important integrated chip technology to IBEC for the manufacture of Broadband over Power Line Regenerating Unit (BRU) smart boxes. About the size of an ordinary desktop computer tower, these boxes are attached to a common electric utility pole and activate to provide high-speed Internet signals to households that previously had only limited or dial-up access to the Internet. Under the agreement, IBM Global Financing will purchase IBEC invoices from DS2 and provide extended payment terms to IBEC.

"IBM Global Financing is proud to play a part in the financing of smart projects that lead to eventual economic recovery," said John Callies, General Manager of IBM Global Financing, Worldwide. "Spurring investments in communications and information technology infrastructure like Broadband over Power Lines can not only provide a boost to the U.S. economy, but also lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth and significant improvement in Americans’ quality of life."

IBEC also benefits from funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service (USDA RUS), which has this year been bolstered by additional funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

"IBEC is excited by this arrangement with IBM Global Financing which will support our efforts to provide broadband Internet access to rural Americans who otherwise would have no path to this indispensable resource," said Scott E. Lee, IBEC CEO. "At IBEC, we recognize that all Americans, including those in rural America, want and need this service. IBM Global Financing’s financing helps ensure they will have it sooner and more economically than would be possible without their participation."

"We are delighted with this relationship. It supports two growing companies like IBEC and DS2 to fund gigantic growth," said Jorge Blasco, DS2 President and CEO. "IBM Global Financing is playing a role that traditional banks are reluctant to play due to limited knowledge of the Smart Grid business and today’s liquidity problems."