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, which recently changed its name to Connected Planet, and America’s Network Magazine, which ceased publication in 2006.

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

This is Big: Telcos, MEF Launch Ethernet Interconnection Point (EIP) Project

An announcement today about an initiative from Carrier Ethernet association MEF that has the backing of America’s largest incumbent telcos illustrates an important change in the telecom business. As MEF Director of Communications & Research Stan Hubbard put it in an interview, “Carrier Ethernet emerged as the global choice for TDM replacement.” The MEF is...Learn More

Ritter/Fidelity Regional Fiber Network Eliminates Internet Middlemen

A new regional fiber network built by two small local telcos not only will bring higher-speed connectivity to communities in six states. It also should enhance users’ Internet experience in another way: It will minimize the number of carriers underlying users’ end-to-end Internet connection, which should help minimize latency – an increasingly important consideration as...Learn More

Another Rural Gigabit Deployment: Montana’s Nemont

Montana-based rural telco Nemont has joined the gigabit club, announcing this week that it is launching service in Scobey, Montana. In a press release, the company said the ultra-high-speed service is available to businesses and residences that already have fiber to the premises, suggesting that this is an upgrade as opposed to a brand new...Learn More

Google Fi: $649 for a Nexus 6 Gets You $20-a-Month Wi-Fi-Centric Service

Google’s new mobile service, dubbed Fi, offers some innovative capabilities and undercuts competitors on pricing in an already highly competitive market (pricing details later in this post). But to get the new capabilities and lower pricing, consumers will have to shell out $649 to $699 for a Nexus 6 phablet, payable up front or in...Learn More

Wheeler: FCC Will Tackle Rate-of-Return CAF Program This Year

The FCC has committed to “taking action” on a broadband Connect America Fund program for the nation’s smaller rate-of-return carriers by the end of the year, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a blog post Friday. To further that goal, the commission has met with associations and others representing ROR carriers to “ask for their...Learn More

UETN/ CenturyLink Deal: Big Education Win Yields Gigabit Spillover Benefits

CenturyLink yesterday announced a big win, gaining the contract to provide Carrier Ethernet service at speeds up to 100 Gbps to 832 schools and educational locations connected to the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN). But it was actually an even bigger win than those numbers suggest. With plans to deploy fiber to support the...Learn More

Residential Gigabit Drives Wi-Fi Advances in Home Network Hubs

An announcement today from Alcatel-Lucent reminds us of a new problem that has arisen as more and more customers use residential broadband at speeds up to a gigabit per second: The customer’s Wi-Fi connection can become a new network bottleneck. According to Alcatel-Lucent, the problem gets worse as consumers increase the number of devices such...Learn More

FCC Frees Up Shared-Use Spectrum, Will Explore LAA

The FCC today adopted a report and order that will free up spectrum in the 3550-3700 MHz band that could be used by wireless network operators for mobile broadband service on a shared basis with incumbent military users. Spectrum also will be available for unlicensed use where it is not used by higher-priority users. FCC...Learn More

MagicJack magicApp Premium: Stand-Alone Mobile OTT Voice and Text

MagicJack VocalTec has launched a mobile over-the-top voice and text offering that lets iOS devices place calls using cellular data or Wi-Fi for $1.99 monthly or $14.99 for a year. To use the offering customers download the company’s magicApp Premium app. The offering includes a phone number and unlimited local and long distance calling to...Learn More

Wisconsin Interactive Broadband Map Targets Economic Development

The Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation have created an interactive map plotting business parks in the state where gigabit broadband connectivity is available, illustrating the importance that high-speed broadband service has become to business site selection. At its launch, the map plots 130 business parks located in territories served by telcos...Learn More

Hiawatha Broadband CEO: How to Make Rural Gigabit Economics Work

A gigabit project from RS Fiber Cooperative and Hiawatha Broadband Communications set to kick off in Minnesota will focus on small towns and rural areas. Rural gigabit isn’t unusual, as Telecompetitor readers know. But while rural gigabit projects typically are undertaken by an incumbent service provider, this one is a complete overbuild. HBC has been...Learn More

Challenges to Title II Broadband Reclassification Pile Up

You could say telecom organizations are piling on the FCC over the commission’s decision to reclassify broadband as a Title II telecommunications service. Associations representing wireless carriers and large and small cable companies today joined USTelecom in challenging the FCC’s decision. Associations filing protests with the FCC included CTIA – The Wireless Association, the National...Learn More