From retail stores to very, very remote wilderness huts, the Matanuska Telephone Association (MTA) provides its members reliable and competitively-priced telecommunications. It must invest in the highest quality and most advanced products available in the industry, including extensive fiber optic cabling and electronic platforms to support broadband signals such as digital subscriber loop. These products must remain secure to provide MTA customers with the best communication service.

So it is not surprising that the enterprise has heavily invested in its security program to protect not only MTA’s main headquarters, two retail stores and approximately 10 central offices, but also to secure its 100+ unmanned communication huts located throughout southern Alaska. Security depends on the organization’s Wide Area Network (WAN).

Approximately 100 central office buildings throughout southern Alaska house the large scale phone equipment, battery plants and system backups. Two to five doors are protected with a proximity reader (Amag Technology). The main doors allow everyone through, while other doors within the offices restrict access to authorized users. The small DSL huts house phone equipment, but mostly they are an extension of a central office to help manage Internet and television communication. Each hut has a flashed panel and proximity reader. MTA’s broadband infrastructure provides the communications with the Amag head-end.

MTA hasn’t had a reader fail yet, and it’s 50 degrees below zero in the winter. A heating strip with wires is adhered to the inside of the reader with a weather-proofing gasket kit. It is wired to a power source and keeps the proximity reader warm. When the temperature falls to a certain level, the heater activates. Everyone utilizes their proximity card to gain entrance, and the huts are monitored through reader activity. Reader history displays who has been in the hut and the time. When that person leaves the hut, the system shows when the door was opened from the inside, and the time they left.

Door sensors are tied into the building controls and show if someone was trying to access a hut. “If a reader is knocked off the door, the door remains locked,” said MTA’s Facilities Maintenance Technician, Cary Clark. “If power is lost, the doors remain locked. The only big challenge we’ve had is kids turning off the power, and we have backup power with the batteries.”