Light Reading
The CEO of NTCA encourages rural telcos to bid on "the last bid of beachfront property" in the wireless game.

Rural Telcos Urged Into 600MHz Auction

Carol Wilson
5/14/2014
50%
50%

NEW ORLEANS — Metaswitch Forum 2014 — Rural telcos have their best chance to get into the wireless game in the upcoming FCC auction of 600MHz spectrum, assuming the rules stay as currently laid out, says the head of the largest association of rural companies.

Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of the NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association , today called this latest spectrum block "the last bit of beachfront property" and urged rural telcos to participate in the upcoming Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction. The current proposal, which has proven controversial, limits what AT&T and Verizon can buy and creates smaller markets, opening the door for rural telcos to buy spectrum that covers their footprint without being forced to buy a large block. (See FCC Chief: Keep Spectrum Open for Smaller Carriers.)

"This is one last shot at having wireless spectrum," Bloomfield said in a keynote here. "If the rules stay as they are currently drafted, this is a favorable situation for smaller carriers.

NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield

In a conversation after her presentation, she said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal -- which prompted AT&T to threaten not to participate in the auction at all -- has earned kudos among smaller telcos and wireless carriers. Now they need to step up and participate in the auction, Bloomfield said, to insure that broadcasters relinquish the spectrum.

Wheeler is also open to discussing other issues rural wireless operators have faced, including lack of access to the most popular handsets and roaming problems, Bloomfield said.

The NTCA is also actively engaged with federal regulators where its transition to the all-IP network is concerned. More than half of its members have already deployed softswitches in the move to IP, and more than 75% have deployed fiber-to-the-home somewhere in their networks, she said.

Her association is looking at the overlap between where its members are actively engaged in the IP transition and where there is an electric utility that has also responded to the FCC's request for information, hoping to see where partnerships can be built between the two local companies' phone and power.

In general, rural telcos (that have taken their knocks in recent years with the loss of Universal Service funding and some complex formulas for future funding) are working hard to stay at the table and in the conversation where the FCC is concerned, and finding Wheeler to be a reasonable person with whom to deal, Bloomfield added.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/17/2014 | 4:30:01 PM
Re: Hard to imagine
Makes sense. For a big business, buying retail doesn't work; they have to buy in bulk. They don't buy one box of paperclips at a time; they buy 'em by the truckload. 
sam masud
50%
50%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/16/2014 | 3:55:03 PM
Like Canada
Carol,

As I recall Canada also reserved spectrum for smaller players during its own AWS auction a few years ago. But I am sure there are differences when it comes to the details on how Canada handled it and the way FCC is going about it.

 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
5/15/2014 | 4:34:38 PM
Re: Hard to imagine
It's not the spectrum itself, it's the way the FCC is choosing to run the auction. As it was explained to me, it's being sold off in smaller market sizes, so a rural company serving eastern Tennessee doesn't have to buy the spectrum for the entire state, they can buy the spectrum for a smaller portion, making it less expensive and more palatable for them to purchase. 

AT&T and Verizon, as the two companies owning the biggest chunk of the highest value spectrum already, are being limited in what they can purchase, so it may be harder for them to build the business case around adding spectrum at 600 MHz. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/15/2014 | 2:05:30 PM
Re: Hard to imagine
If the 600 MHz footprint doesn't make sense for AT&T, perhaps other carriers would have difficulty making it work too. 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
5/14/2014 | 9:09:47 PM
Re: Hard to imagine
AT&T is arguing that the FCC's restrictions would limit the bandwidth they could get from the auction and leave them with "a fragmented and inefficient 600 MHz footprint" nthat doesn't make business sense. 

It does seem hard to believe that AT&T would sit out any spectrum auction, given the value of that limited resource but if carving up the auction into a lot of smaller pieces and limiting where AT&T and Verizon can bid makes the bandwidth so inefficient it's essentially unusable, they might follow through.

I suspect the threats at this stage are an effort to pressure Wheeler to back down. A lot of people will be watching to see if it works. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/14/2014 | 8:10:29 PM
Hard to imagine
Hard to imagine AT&T following through on its threat to boycott the auction. The competitive upside is too great. 
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Secure Telefonica Network With Huawei's High-End Firewall

11|24|14   |   4:37   |   (0) comments


Andrew Davies, IP architect of the Telefonica, a leading digital communications company, discusses the Huawei security gateway solution and putting the solution into the testbed.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners with Spirent to Verify CE12816's 10GE Port & TRILL Networking Capabilities

11|24|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Spirent Communications is the world's leading supplier for telecom testing appliances and solutions. Spirent has been in a close partnership with Huawei for a long time.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Airlines & Its ICT Transformation

11|24|14   |   2:07   |   (0) comments


In this video, Saudi Airlines discusses its network problems and how Huawei's Agile Network is its all-in-one solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Switch Benefiting Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital

11|24|14   |   2:40   |   (0) comments


Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital speaks about how Huawei's Agile Switch has improved the medical service's network infrastructure.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FanPlay & Huawei Build a Wireless Agile Smart Stadium

11|24|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


FanPlay is a cloud-based white label service, which is effectively a football fan engagement platform underpinned by mobile payment technology.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building an Agile Stadium

11|24|14   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Stadiums may be thousands of tons of concrete and steel, but they now need to be agile. Being at the stadium may not be as alluring as it once was. Sports franchises and stadium operators discuss how to get fans back.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Helps ChinaCache Tackle Challenges in the Internet Industry

11|24|14   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


ChinaCache is China's largest content distribution network supplier. Huawei's CE12800 has provided ChinaCache with very strong support in its establishment of an infrastructure network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cefinity on Managed Security Services & Next-Generation Firewall

11|24|14   |   7:05   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a cloud management service provider in Southeast Asia. Ivan Zhang, CEO of the company, discusses the implementation of security service management in the cloud era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Gateway in the Eyes of Cefinity

11|24|14   |   2:11   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a managed service provider for enterprise networks. The company currently uses Huawei's AR series routers for the most complete range of functions. CEO Ivan Zhang speaks about the advantages of the AR series routers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
CTO of Bus-Online Talks About Huawei's Agile Gateway

11|24|14   |   2:53   |   (0) comments


Bus-Online covers around 100 million users everyday. In addition to providing mobile TV, and advertising services to the public, Bus-Online has also entered the field of mobile Internet.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Amsterdam ArenA as an Agile Campus

11|24|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Amsterdam ArenA, home of the Ajax soccer team, can be a crowded space. ArenA has partnered with Huawei to work on bringing ample bandwidth to 53,000 people at the same time.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Gigabit Wireless Network

11|24|14   |   3:15   |   (0) comments


3W is dedicated to customer-centric services such as catering, incubator and PR. To do this requires a solid IT structure. In this video, 3W discusses how Huawei has helped to achieve its goals.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 12, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/21/2014
$35B+ Spectrum Auction Dings Verizon, Shines Dish
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/24/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed