Rural America celebrates wireless milestone

By on October 15, 2015

A little more than five years ago, Verizon announced its LTE in Rural America (LRA) program with a simple vision: to help rural wireless companies across America drive innovation through advanced 4G LTE technology. 

That vision is now reality. Verizon announced today that all 21 program participants have launched 4G LTE service, and the company and its partners have fully met their original goal of deploying 4G LTE technology across rural counties in 15 states.

“The LRA program has positively impacted the lives of Americans from Maine to Alaska, and we’re very proud to be a part of that,” said Philip Junker, executive director of strategic alliances at Verizon and a leader of the LRA program. “Verizon has always been a responsible steward of spectrum resources. We had a vision of partnering with the rural carrier community, we put our resources behind that vision, and we delivered what we promised for our customers.”

Verizon’s LRA program offers scope and scale economies to rural wireless companies that would be difficult to attain on their own, involving spectrum, roaming, core network services, IT integration, device specification/certification and technology collaboration. Here’s what the program has accomplished to date:

  • 225,000 square miles of Verizon’s spectrum is leased by LRA participants across 169 rural counties in 15 states
  • 1,000+ 4G LTE cell sites have been activated, covering an area larger than Colorado
  • 2.7 million people are covered by those cells sites
  • More than 50 wireless devices have been certified, including smartphones, tablets and connected devices

Best of all, LRA participants are using advanced 4G LTE technology in unique ways and unique places, such as:

  • Paducah & Louisville Railway –Installing a traditional telephone wireline data circuit to track the location of trains in often idyllic but very remote areas of the country can be costly and challenging. However, advances in wireless technology are helping make connections possible in Kentucky and other rural areas.
  • Heartland Medical  – The Heartland Mobile Health unit from Montgomery County Memorial Hospital (MCMH) serves a large rural expanse of Iowa with very few doctors.  If not for the mobile clinic, many residents would have to drive long distances, delay their routine visits or perhaps skip altogether important primary, preventive and other crucial care.
  • Coaches Aid – High school sports are a vital part of many rural communities, but life circumstances can get in the way of watching live – for example, grandparents who live two states away, or a father serving in the military overseas. The reasons people can’t attend are numerous, but the Verizon Wireless LTE in Rural America (LRA) program helps in providing fans access to the game.
  • KMA Broadcasting – 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, KMA Broadcasting often is the first place local residents learn about it, thanks to 4G LTE.

For a visual illustration of the first five years of Verizon’s LRA program, click here