Posts by Joan Engebretson

Joan Engebretson is Executive Editor of Telecompetitor. Joan has been writing about telecommunications since 1992. She has been editor-in-chief of two telecom industry publications—Telephony Magazine and America’s Network Magazine.

Under Engebretson’s leadership, America’s Network won several awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, including a 2001 national gold award for her commentary. In 2009, she won best on-line column in min’s Editorial and Design Awards.

Engebretson has a BA in journalism and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Joan can be reached at

Obama Cool and Connected Broadband Program Targets Rural Economic Development

Five rural communities in the same number of states will participate in President Obama’s Cool and Connected broadband pilot program, which aims to use broadband to spur economic development in these communities. The program is administered by The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Funding of $350,000 is allotted to the...Learn More

Consolidated, Syringa News Highlights Ethernet, Cloud Services Growth for Tier 2/3 Telcos

Two announcements this week remind us of how important Ethernet and cloud services growth is for Tier 2 and 3 telcos. Syringa Networks announced it had achieved Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification for several services. Additionally,  Consolidated Communications announced new metro markets for its cloud offerings. A Consolidated spokeswoman told Telecompetitor that the carrier now offers...Learn More

Senators Want USDA’s Community Connect Broadband Speed Definition Raised

Four U.S. senators have written a letter to Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, asking him to raise the Community Connect broadband speed definition. The Community Connect grant program pays the majority of the costs of bringing broadband to extremely rural lower-income communities that currently lack broadband service. The program’s budget for...Learn More

Verizon LTE in Rural America Carrier Deploys XLTE, Exec Says More to Come

When Verizon made its XLTE spectrum and technology available to participants in the Verizon LTE in Rural America (LRA) program, it wasn’t clear how popular the offering would be with the rural carriers.  But Verizon on Monday announced in a blog post that one LRA participant – Kentucky’s Bluegrass Cellular – had begun to “add...Learn More

Consolidated Iowa Telco Sale Underscores Non-Core Asset Divestiture Trend

An announced Consolidated Iowa telco sale to two smaller rural telcos is the latest example of a large company selling operations not considered core to its business. The company plans to sell nine exchanges to Mutual Telephone Company of Sioux Center, Iowa (also known as Premier). Consolidated also will sell two exchanges to Winnebago Cooperative...Learn More

600 MHz Auction Target Meets Expectations: 126 MHz to be Available

The 600 MHz auction target announced Friday by the FCC is a satisfactory 126 MHz of spectrum, essentially meeting the target amount of spectrum the commission hoped would be made available for auction when it began planning the auction several years ago. Spectrum in the 600 MHz band is currently used by TV broadcasters, who...Learn More

Developer: Big Improvements in TV White Spaces Economics Coming Soon

Will 2016 be the year we finally begin to see a serious uptake in adoption of TV white spaces broadband wireless technology? The answer is yes, according to Jim Carlson, CEO of Carlson Wireless, who told Telecompetitor this week that he expects to see big improvements in TV white spaces economics as the result of...Learn More

Rural Operators Could Find Opportunity in CBRS Auction Plans Adopted by FCC

Rural operators could find it easier to obtain spectrum licenses in the citizens broadband radio service (CBRS) band as the result of CBRS auction plans adopted by the FCC at today’s monthly commission meeting. Previously the FCC had said it would only issue licenses where at least two operators bid on spectrum in the auction....Learn More

FCC Business Data Services Regulation Would Require Carriers to Revise Contracts

The FCC today took the next step toward implementing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan for business data services regulation. The commission at today’s monthly FCC voted to adopt a tariff investigation order and a further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) that would re-regulate business data services, formerly known as special access. If adopted the proposed...Learn More

Letter of Credit Concerns Delay FCC Rural Broadband Experiments

Sixteen months after initial funding recipients were announced in the FCC Rural Broadband Experiments program, some awardees have been unable to proceed with their projects because funds have not yet been released to them. At issue is a requirement that awardees obtain a letter of credit from one of the nation’s Top 100 banks: Small...Learn More

Proposed Charter, TWC, Bright House Deal Conditions Would Prohibit Interconnection Fees

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler yesterday recommended approval of a long-awaited cable industry megamerger. But the Charter, TWC, Bright House deal conditions would prohibit the merged company from charging interconnection fees and from imposing usage-based pricing and data caps. Apparently the merged company also would be required to make further broadband deployments, as a statement from...Learn More

Verizon NFV Plans: Data Centers Are Just the Start

Network function virtualization (NFV) is most commonly viewed as a way to reduce network equipment costs by replacing traditional purpose-built devices with software controlled general purpose hardware. But as Verizon NFV plans illustrate, the technology could have other benefits as well. Verizon anticipates NFV providing savings in three areas – capex, opex and time to...Learn More