Last week, representatives from the rural carriers that participate in the Verizon LTE in Rural America program shared information and provided a candid view of their progress as they prepare to launch 4G LTE service to their customers. With two carriers in the program that have already launched 4G LTE networks and four more slated to launch later this year, the 2nd Annual LTE in Rural America Summit proved to be chock full of interactive discussions, updates and lessons learned.
One rural carrier equated the rollout to the Field of Dreams adage: Build it and they will come. Participants expressed satisfaction with the program, speculated about what the network would look like in five years and acknowledged that 4G LTE is a new beginning.
Verizon Wireless Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Nicki Palmer provided an update on Verizon’s 4G LTE network and discussed anticipated data growth rates, operational support systems and commitment and support for the program. The participants also toured the Verizon Innovation Center East, got a first-hand view of new products and services enabled by 4G LTE and discussed what they will mean for their customers and their businesses.
Verizon Wireless launched the LTE in Rural America program in 2010 to help rural carriers build and operate a 4G LTE network in their areas. Carriers use their tower and backhaul assets with Verizon Wireless’ core 4G LTE equipment and 700 MHz C Block spectrum. To date, 17 rural carriers have joined the program, leasing spectrum covering more than 2.7 million people in 14 states.