In the rural farming communities of Southwest Iowa, getting the latest news about weather can mean the difference between a profitable growing season and a year in the red. And when the National Weather Service issues a severe weather alert, Chat Mobility customer KMA Broadcasting often is the first place local residents learn about it.
“We are a news and information station in Shenandoah, Iowa; we live and breathe breaking news,” said Chuck Morris, KMA news director and a Chat Mobility customer.
Morris explained that the speed and reliability of Chat Mobility’s new 4G LTE network now lets KMA deliver news more quickly. Chat Mobility launched its 4G LTE network in May 2013 as part of the Verizon Wireless LTE in Rural America (LRA) program and Morris describes it as a “godsend.”
“With 3G, we had a real tough time getting the consistently reliable bandwidth needed to deliver our audio and video news reports. Now the 4G LTE network allows us to establish connections lickety-split, and its reliability and consistency are very, very good.”
Whether he’s using a Chat Mobility MiFi to create a 4G LTE mobile hotspot for team sports coverage or streaming breaking news using his smartphone, Morris said the 4G LTE network has opened up a whole new world for his station’s operations.
“We had augmented our Chat Mobility service with local competitive offerings in the past, but once Verizon Wireless and Chat Mobility got together and offered nationwide 4G LTE, Chat Mobility has emerged as the clear leader in this market,” Morris said. “The video and audio quality is amazing.”
Verizon Wireless provides the largest 4G LTE network coverage in rural areas in the United States*. Through the LRA program, started in 2010 to bring the benefits of high-speed mobile broadband to rural communities on a quicker timetable, Verizon Wireless leases its 700 MHz upper C Block spectrum to rural companies and works with them to build and operate 4G LTE networks in their areas. The program currently has 21 participants; 18 have launched their networks, which cover more than 2.2 million people and more than 62,000 square miles.
The rural networks extend the 4G LTE footprints for both Verizon Wireless customers and customers of companies participating in the LRA program. Those customers can roam on Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network throughout the U.S., as well as the networks of all the other rural participants. Verizon Wireless customers can roam on the rural companies’ networks.
Since Verizon Wireless networks are built to help keep customers connected during storms, hurricanes and natural disasters, KMA Broadcasting now is a reliable source of information during severe weather and other public safety emergencies, Morris said. In recent weeks, Morris used his smartphone to broadcast tornado warnings from his home in the wee hours of the morning as a KMA staffer raced to the station to transmit ongoing coverage.
“With 4G LTE service, we can do this kind of remote reporting with confidence,” he said. “We now can do our job without worrying about whether or not we’re being heard.”
* Based on square miles covered in counties with a population density less than 100 people per square mile.
Photo Caption: KMA Information Conductor Chuck Morris relies on the Verizon/Chat Mobile 4G LTE network to interview AgriVision’s Don Athen while promoting the tractor dealer’s grand opening in Red Oak, Iowa.