Light Reading

Farmers Need Broadband More Than New Trucks

Carol Wilson

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        ADD A COMMENT
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.
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.
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.
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
Not the publicly traded incumbents, say two of the industry's veteran financial analysts.
To spur IoT apps and services, Verizon is offering ThingSpace and its accompanying APIs for free to developers, but there is a clear revenue strategy.
Group built on competitive carrier roots is trying to broaden its reach to represent a wider swatch of the competitive Internet.
AT&T has invested more in the US than any other firm in the past four years, but is its capex shrinking? Yes, no, maybe, for many reasons.
So North America is out of IPv4 addresses – that's incredibly anti-climactic. Unless it isn't, in which case you're in trouble.
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (7) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (1) comment

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Electric Power Summit 2015 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

11|16|15   |   1:28   |   (0) comments

Huawei, together with Ethiopia's Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, hosted the Huawei Electric Power Summit 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event gathered industry experts and senior executives of global electric power companies to discuss emerging industry trends including: improvements in new energy conversion efficiency, reduction of line losses ...
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Sprint, Verizon Face Reorganization, Job Cuts
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/20/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Frontier Gives Telco TV a Boost
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 11/24/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Mobily CEO Ahmad Farroukh talks to Steve Saunders about the realities of being a mobile operator in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.