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

InventionShare 5by5 Wireless Aims to Improve Rural Wireless Performance, Economics

Remote rural areas are a key target market for new 5by5 Wireless technology  from a group of technology developers working within InventionShare, which provides inventors with “funding, talent, and processes” and will be the exclusive global agency for the licensing or acquisition of 5by5 Wireless inventions. The 5by5 technology uses a single 360-degree antenna to...Learn More

FCC Moves Further on Retransmission Consent

As expected the FCC this week adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow video service providers including telcos and cable companies the option of bringing in broadcast network signals from outside their home markets. The goal would be to give service providers greater negotiating power with broadcasters in retransmission consent agreements. Currently...Learn More

FCC Frontier/Verizon Deal Approval Should Spur Investment

Frontier’s acquisition of Verizon’s wireline business in California, Florida and Texas appears well positioned to close in the first quarter of 2016 now that the FCC has given its approval to the transaction. In a press release Frontier noted that one remaining hurdle is to obtain approval from the state public utilities commission in California....Learn More

Fibrant 10 Gigabit Service Ups Gigabit Ante, Execs Reveals Gigabit Pricing Strategy

Ultra-high-speed network one-upmanship continues with an announcement today that Fibrant — the broadband network owned by the city of Salisbury, N.C. – will now offer 10 Gbps service to residential as well as business customers. “We’re looking beyond what others are doing now,” said Kent Winrich, director of broadband and infrastructure for the City of...Learn More

Telergee: Rural Telecom Margins Decline, But Network Investment Increases

Declining margins are an ongoing issue for small rural telcos, as new data from the Telergee Alliance of accounting firms reminds us. The average small telco saw margins drop 1.7% between 2013 and 2014, despite a 2.1% increase in average revenues, according to the 2015 Telergee Benchmarking Study. Telergee firms specialize in rural telecom and...Learn More

Rural Telecom Consolidation: LICT Exec Shares Dixon/ Central Scott Strategy

Rural telecom consolidation continues with an announcement yesterday involving two incumbent rural Iowa carriers. Central Scott Telephone Company,  a subsidiary of LICT Corporation, is purchasing Dixon Telephone Company. LICT expects to see synergies from combining the personnel of the two companies, which are adjacent to one another, said LICT Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer...Learn More

Upcoming CAF Reverse Auction Puts Markets in 20 States Up for Grabs for Broadband Funding

Now that the nation’s largest price cap telecom carriers have announced their decisions on broadband Connect America Phase II funding, a portion of locations targeted in the program will be teed up for a reverse auction expected to occur in 2016. Carriers had until last Thursday to indicate, on a state-by-state basis, whether or not...Learn More

Midwest Connections Gigabit Launches in Rural Michigan

The latest network operator to join the ranks of companies offering residential gigabit broadband is Midwest Connections, a unit of Midwest Energy Cooperative. The company said today it has made gigabit service available in portions of rural Michigan. Midwest Energy is the electricity supplier in parts of rural Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The company has...Learn More

AT&T and Verizon CAF Plans for Rural Broadband Heading in Two Different Directions

AT&T and Verizon CAF plans were revealed today, and it appears they have differing views on their rural broadband future. AT&T joins the list of telecom companies that have opted to accept most of the Connect America funding they were offered by the FCC earlier this year. The company said today that it will take...Learn More

CFO: Consolidated Communications Video Takes Backseat to Broadband

The latest conflict between content owners and video service providers may have been de-escalated this week when FCC intervention put a halt to Sinclair’s blackout of Dish Network, but conflicts remain. Some video providers – including Consolidated Communications — are finding video content economics so challenging that they are rethinking that whole line of business. ...Learn More

Consolidated, CenturyLink Accept CAF Totaling $514 Million

CenturyLink said today that it will accept approximately $500 million  annually from the FCC’s Connect America Fund to cover some of the cost of bringing broadband to parts of the company’s local service territory that can’t get broadband today or only have low-speed broadband available. Also today Consolidated Communications said it will accept approximately $14...Learn More

Nine Rural Telcos Receive NTCA Gig-Capable Certification

NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association said it has certified nine small service providers as Gig-Capable Providers under a program announced earlier this year. The goal of that program is to build awareness and industry recognition of community-based providers that have built gigabit networks. To obtain certification, rural telcos must document that gigabit technology is...Learn More