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

Should Smaller Wireless Carriers Sell Towers?

At least one nationwide wireless carrier, T-Mobile, has sold some of its wireless towers in order to free up money for investment–  and other large carriers reportedly are considering that option. Does this move make sense for smaller carriers as well? The NTELOS View NTELOS clearly believes the answer is yes, announcing this week that...Learn More

Changes to RUS Broadband Loan Program Include Rural Gigabit Pilot

When President Obama spoke last week about reforms to the USDA Rural Utilities Service broadband loan program, he was referencing changes adopted in the 2014 Farm Bill, a USDA official advised in an email to Telecompetitor. Although the changes have received little publicity, they include a new definition of eligible service areas, a new minimum...Learn More

Anti-Muni Network Groups Respond to Obama’s Advocacy

President Obama’s recent comments advocating municipal broadband networks have drawn a variety of rebuttals from groups such as the Phoenix Center, TechFreedom and Media Freedom. The Phoenix Center sums up the core argument in a white paper critiquing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s praise for the EPB gigabit network in Chattanooga: “The widespread use of government...Learn More

FreedomPop Wi-Fi Service Offers Unlimited Voice, Text and Data

FreedomPop, the company that offers free cellular data, voice and text service, today launched a service that lets smartphones use any of nearly 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide for data, voice, or text connectivity, thereby minimizing customers’ cellular service consumption. “We’re cobbling together millions of hotspots to create a ‘good enough’ mobile network” that will...Learn More

New NY Broadband Program Offers $500 Million for 100 Mbps Broadband

The state of New York has launched what it says is the largest state investment in broadband deployment in the U.S. The initiative, to be known as New NY Broadband Program, will make $500 million available to network operators to bring broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the state. Operators will have to provide...Learn More

Report Finds Strong Link Between Broadband and Population Growth

U.S. counties lacking high-speed broadband have lower population growth and are more likely to see population decline than counties where high-speed broadband is available, according to new research conducted by Broadband Communities Magazine. Counties with the highest broadband availability levels are seeing the greatest population growth, researchers said. The benchmark broadband data rate was 25...Learn More

Ting Maryland Gigabit Deal Will Leverage Community’s Dark Fiber

Ting Fiber is wasting no time pursuing its gigabit ambitions. Just one month after emerging on the scene with plans for Charlottesville, Virginia, the company has announced plans for a second gigabit market – Westminster, Maryland. According to a blog post from Ting’s vice president of marketing Michael Goldstein, Westminster is located 35 miles outside...Learn More

OneWeb Satellite Project Aims to Bring Broadband to Rural Areas

Qualcomm and The Virgin Group yesterday announced plans for an ambitious satellite project aimed at bringing broadband service to remote rural areas around the world that cannot get service today. The companies are pursuing the project through a joint venture to be known as OneWeb. While some broadband offerings rely on a single geostationary satellite,...Learn More

Verizon Vehicle to Provide Emergency and Other Services for $15 Monthly

Verizon is pursuing a considerably different connected car strategy than AT&T, an announcement from Verizon yesterday reveals. Verizon Vehicle, announced yesterday and scheduled for availability later this year, is an after-market device and service that will support emergency communications and dispatch, along with stolen vehicle location assistance and diagnostic, troubleshooting and maintenance capabilities. A Verizon...Learn More

Obama Broadband Plans Include USDA Loan Program Revamp, Community Broadband Support

Updated later January 14 The White House said yesterday that President Obama will announce a range of broadband initiatives – including a plan to revamp the USDA’s broadband loan program — in a speech in Cedar Falls, Iowa this afternoon. Among other things, Obama also will ask the FCC to “address barriers” to the deployment...Learn More

Wilkes Communications/ TDS Deal: Wilkes CEO Has Gigabit Plans

TDS Telecom plans to join its bigger telecom brethren in selling off rural lines – in this case about 3,000 lines in three North Carolina communities representing TDS’s entire North Carolina telecom holdings. But unlike with previous deals such as Frontier’s purchases of AT&T and Verizon lines or Fairpoint’s purchase of Verizon lines, the buyer...Learn More

FairlawnGig Aims to be a Public/ Private High-Speed Broadband Network

The mayor of an Akron, Ohio suburb said yesterday that he plans to pursue a gigabit network for his community through a public/private partnership. “Enhanced broadband services and fiber optic availability will strengthen and improve the delivery of police, fire and other vital municipal services and provide the City with access to cutting edge information...Learn More