Light Reading

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
Response to FCC head Tom Wheeler's expected re-regulation of broadband access lines was predictable, but also maybe irrelevant.
Metaswitch CTO says virtual functions implemented on IT-grade cloud infrastructure require extra engineering help to handle network volumes.
Technology guru John Donovan pledges to make AT&T's network 75% software-defined by 2020.
Board of directors allegedly wanted faster pace of change from one of the telecom industry's change pacesetters.
But what took them so long?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (3) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Cyber Security Expert Warns: You're Doing It Wrong
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/23/2015
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
Is FCC Weighing Net Neutrality Changes?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 2/25/2015
MWC: Let the Madness Begin
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.