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

Big Carriers Will Want Small Ones to Support VoLTE Roaming

As the nation’s largest wireless service providers roll out VoLTE, they’re looking for ubiquitous coverage – and that presents both opportunities and challenges for the nation’s smaller rural wireless operators that rely on roaming agreements with the larger carriers for coverage outside their home turf. “The Tier 2 and Tier 3 [carriers] know it’s just...Learn More

AT&T and SDN: Bandwidth on Demand Launched in Six Cities

The hype about software defined networking (SDN) may have simmered down in recent months – but that doesn’t mean service providers have lost interest, as an announcement from AT&T yesterday illustrates. The company said its SDN-based Network on Demand offering is now available in six Texas and California cities.  Network on Demand is designed to...Learn More

FCC Preempts Anti-Municipal Broadband Legislation

As expected, the Federal Communications Commission today voted to preempt state laws restricting community broadband in North Carolina and Tennessee. The decision came in the form of an order adopted at today’s FCC meeting, with the commission’s three Democratic commissioners supporting the decision and the two Republican commissioners voting against the order. Chattanooga, Tennessee and...Learn More

New Net Neutrality Rules Adopted by FCC, New Broadband Rules Result

The Federal Communications Commission sought to put a human face on Net Neutrality at today’s monthly meeting, where the commission adopted an order re-imposing Net Neutrality rules and reclassifying both mobile and landline broadband as telecommunications services. “Today’s FCC action is about consumer rights, free speech… and democracy,” said Internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee appearing...Learn More

Huawei/ Far Lane Deal Targets Rural Broadband

A telecom veteran who has considerable experience in rural deployments has started a company to pursue opportunities to serve smaller operators deploying broadband. The company, known as Far Lane, is headed up by Bill Macfarlane, whose experience includes operating the Western Independent Networks fiber network in the Northwest U.S. Macfarlane also worked for several other...Learn More

Some Operators Deploying NFV and VoLTE in Unison

Wireless operators are getting serious about deploying voice over LTE (VoLTE) and network function virtualization (NFV), as a couple of new announcements illustrate. Perhaps not surprisingly, VoLTE looks to be where NFV initially may take root in carrier networks. Virtualized IP network provider Interop Technologies said today that it will use Taqua’s Virtual Mobile Core...Learn More

Minnesota Gains 10-Gigabit Broadband for Schools from Telco Group

Schools throughout a large part of northwestern Minnesota will be getting 10 gigabit broadband as the result of a cooperative effort between a school district consortium and a consortium of 18 small local telecom service providers. The initiative builds on a 13-year relationship between the telco consortium, known as Northwest Minnesota Special Access (NMSA), and...Learn More

Samsung LoopPay Purchase Seeks Leg Up in Mobile Wallet Market

Samsung yesterday afternoon said it has reached an agreement to acquire LoopPay, developer of mobile payment technology that converts existing point-of-sale (POS) terminals into contactless receivers. LoopPay’s approach to mobile payment has the potential to work with approximately 90% of existing POS terminals, the companies said. In an announcement, Samsung Global Innovation Center Executive Vice...Learn More

Santa Clara Utility-Owned Distributed Antenna System Targets Wireless Carriers

As the wireless industry gets set to ratchet up the deployment of distributed antenna systems, the city of Santa Clara, California offers an interesting deployment model. Silicon Valley Power, the municipally owned utility serving Santa Clara, plans to leverage fiber it installed 15 years ago for sub-station connectivity to also support an outdoor DAS that...Learn More

Telecom REIT Prospects: Is Wall Street Still Heady?

When Windstream announced its plans to spin fiber and copper network assets out into a real estate investment trust last summer, many service providers – including Windstream – saw their stock values jump. Wall Street, initially at least, applauded the telecom REIT concept, designed to free up funding for investment by minimizing taxes – and...Learn More

Verizon to Use LTE in Unlicensed Bands to Boost Downlink Capacity

A Verizon conference call with investors this morning illustrated what are likely to be the key network priorities for the wireless network operator moving forward. Combining spectrum bands using LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation, along with network densification using small cells and distributed antenna strategies, were important goals that shaped Verizon’s strategy in the recent AWS auction,...Learn More

AT&T Vs. Google Fiber Gigabit: A Five-City Face-Off

AT&T today launched the company’s gigabit broadband service, dubbed U-verse with GigaPower, in parts of more than five cities in the Kansas City metro area. Additionally the company said it will expand the service to Independence, Mo. and Shawnee, Kan. Google Fiber already offers or plans to offer gigabit service in all but two of...Learn More