Light Reading
Rural telcos make the case that they need more support from Washington to provide broadband to their communities

Farmers Need Broadband More Than New Trucks

Carol Wilson
2/5/2013
50%
50%

ORLANDO -- A day after Dodge put rural America front and center in its Ram Trucks Super Bowl commercial featuring Paul Harvey's "So God Made A Farmer," a large group of rural Americans is met here to ponder their future through a less romanticized lens. These rural Americans happen to also be telco executives, and they are being told it's time to make rural relevant again -- but the way to do that is through better broadband networks, not fancier trucks. It's not a new message, but it is one with new urgency and a new focus on trying to bring scale to rural problems and issues, both political and technological. The urgency is obvious: In 2013, 160 rural telcos hit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s cap on Universal Service Fund (USF), a ceiling imposed through a set of computations so complex as to be unpredictable. Hundreds of other rural companies are so intimidated by changes in the USF and intercarrier compensation rules that they are trimming network investment or even looking for an exit strategy. The move to create scale is also obvious on one front: The two groups jointly meeting here as the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & Expo are expecting to permanently unify into one larger, louder voice for the rural telco. They are the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (Opastco). Already, persistent pressure by rural telcos on their Congressional representatives and at the FCC level has brought about some changes, said NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield and new FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who each delivered a keynote. Rosenworcel, who visited rural areas early in her tenure, said that while USF reform is important, the implementation rules are "byzantine in their complexity." The FCC has now adopted her recommendations that combine the capex and opex benchmarks into one, and will keep those benchmarks in place for more than a year. That will "simplify regression analysis and provide more flexibility," Rosenworcel said, in hopes of "giving more confidence over the long haul to invest." Bloomfield and Rosenworcel also urged the rural telcos assembled to focus on what the transition to all-IP networks means for their businesses and to keep up the pressure on the FCC, directly and through Congress, to make sure USF reforms don't hit rural broadband. "The FCC should not just track the status of reforms, they need to track how reforms actually help or hurt rural consumers," Bloomfield said. "We are working to take that message to the most influential folks we can -- in the White House in the USDA and in the Congress." But Bloomfield also urged the telcos to look for their own economies of scale through more partnerships with each other and with other entities, to avoid investing in company-specific infrastructure and systems, when those can be shared. For expensive resources such as headends, regional and middle-mile fiber networks and back-office systems for billing, partnerships become the best means of being more efficient. That's an important message for the rural folks because it's clear that Washington thinks that having so many small telcos doing their own thing in rural America is inefficient. What is also clear here in Orlando is that rural telcos are still determined to convince Washington that what rural communities most need to succeed is broadband service and that they are best positioned to provide that service. — Carol Wilson, Group Content Director, Business Technology Events, UBM Tech

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
jtombes
50%
50%
jtombes,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/6/2013 | 5:37:40 PM
re: Farmers Need Broadband More Than New Trucks
Don't overlook the satellite/agriculture connection. GPS data is well entrenched in large-scale farming, out in the mega-fields, far from rural telco access plant. Small rural towns, that's another matter. But broadband satellite -- govn't subsidized in some cases -- is an option.
victorblake
50%
50%
victorblake,
User Rank: Lightning
2/6/2013 | 2:05:47 PM
re: Farmers Need Broadband More Than New Trucks
Seriously -- it clearly says shared between the operators, not with the government. Shared resources are in fact quite common in telecom. Shared conduits, manholes, and yes even shared headends. Although typically owned and operated by a single operator, one headend may forward traffic to multiple hubs across operators. This is common and economically efficient in low density population areas (aka rural).-á Politics aside, the economics are that broadband for everyone (including in rural areas) benefits their local, the US, and the global economy.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/5/2013 | 5:28:13 PM
re: Farmers Need Broadband More Than New Trucks
Shared resources? Sounds like ... socialism. Maybe the term "red state" has some validity after all.
chuckj
50%
50%
chuckj,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/5/2013 | 4:28:57 PM
re: Farmers Need Broadband More Than New Trucks
Those areas represent the sea of red that engulf the islands of blue across the country. -áIt would be magnanimous of the-áadministration-áif they do something about it.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Rewired
In the mid-80s, there were hot debates about how to power phones over non-copper lines. Guess what? Those debates are back.
One early indication of whether the tw telecom deal will bear the hoped-for fruit will be how its dynamic bandwidth capacity is handled.
Incumbents don't want cities and towns to build their own gigabit networks, but what's their alternative plan?
It's up to network operators to make sure "open" retains some meaning and doesn't go the way of "natural" foods.
The beauty of the early Internet was that it was distance-insensitive but as video takes over and the cloud grows, is that changing?
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Inaugural Optical Innovation Forum in Nice

9|2|14   |     |   (0) comments


More than 170 attendees from network operators, service providers, analyst firms, and component companies from around the world convened in Nice in June for the inaugural Optical Innovation Forum, co-produced by Huawei and Light Reading.
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Verizon Launches QR Code Security Solution
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2014
Nokia's Maps Land on Samsung Devices
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/29/2014
Verizon to Launch HD VoLTE in 'Coming Weeks'
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed