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

USDA Broadband Loan and Grant Recipients Announced

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said today that it has awarded $190.5 million in broadband grants and loans to 19 communications service providers for projects in 25 states. The USDA makes low-interest loans to rural telephone companies through the Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan program, which was initially established to support construction of and upgrades to voice networks,...Learn More

Small Telco Gigabit Launch from Pinnacle Communications

The latest gigabit network launch comes from Pinnacle Communications, a small telco serving Lavaca, Arkansas. The company several years ago deployed fiber-to-the-home throughout its serving area, which simplified the process of upgrading the network to support gigabit service, explained Pinnacle Communications General Manager John Zeller in an interview. Pinnacle’s upgrade required acquiring additional backbone connectivity...Learn More

Homeland Security Telecom Needs Met by Texas Telco

The opening last year of the Boquillas Crossing between the U.S. and Mexico after a decade-long closure was made possible by fiber optic communications provided by Big Bend Telephone, the rural telco serving the Texas side of the border. The U.S. side of the crossing is now located in a ranger station in Big Bend National...Learn More

Alcatel-Lucent TWDM-PON Targets Converged Services

A new approach to fiber-to-the-premises from Alcatel-Lucent announced today aims to boost capacity to as high as 40 Gbps and to enable the local access network to support multiple services – or even multiple service providers. The offering, dubbed TWDM-PON for “time and wavelength division multiplexed passive optical network,” uses a combination of TDM and...Learn More

Next Century Cities Aims to Share Broadband Best Practices

The Next Century Cities initiative launched yesterday aims to further the availability of high-speed broadband nationwide by collaborating and sharing best practices.  Among the initiative’s 32 “inaugural partners” were several communities that already have scored major high-speed wins, some of whom shared their success stories at a launch event in Santa Monica, California that also...Learn More

Frontier West Virginia Lawsuit Attacks Company’s Broadband Service

Frontier has some big headaches in West Virginia, where it faces a class action lawsuit about its broadband service. A report from local media outlet Charleston Gazette quotes from the lawsuit, which states that Frontier “has a monopoly on Internet services in most of West Virginia” and is the only broadband provider in many rural...Learn More

NTIA: Broadband Usage at Home Climbs to 72%, Non-Adopters Say Why

Nearly three –quarters (72%) of U.S. households used broadband at home as of October 2012, according to a report released last week by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). That was an increase of three percentage points from 2011. The NTIA also looked at reasons why the 28% of U.S. households without broadband were...Learn More

FCC: TDM-to-IP Transition Was a Cause of 911 Outage Affecting Seven States

The transition to next-generation 911 (NG911) emergency services based on IP played a role in the April outage that prevented people in seven states from being able to reach emergency dispatchers, said Rear Admiral David Simpson, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau at today’s monthly FCC meeting. Simpson also noted an...Learn More

Chicago CIO Shares Internet of Things Success Stories

The Internet of Things is becoming a reality in the city of Chicago, where sensors send an alert when trash cans get too full and sensors at city beaches report hourly on water temperature and wave height. Many of Chicago’s sensors use 3G for communications. For example, bike racks located around the city report every...Learn More

OTT Provider GEM Gains MVPD Status, Local TV Content for SIMUL SEZ

Giga Entertainment Media has a unique business model. The company offers an app and platform for tablets and mobile devices that enables end users to view over-the-top video and free local TV content simultaneously on multiple devices, and supports multi-user collaboration and other capabilities. The company gained the ability to offer the local TV content...Learn More

Solarus Gigabit Network Helped Company Become a ‘Smart Rural Community’

Wisconsin-based rural telco Solarus has the distinction of being both an NTCA Smart Rural Community and a provider of gigabit broadband service. Solarus is a customer-owned company that has provided telephone service for over 100 years but in recent years has transformed itself into a provider of broadband, digital video and other services. Solarus received...Learn More

AT&T Gigabit Markets to Include Chicago and Atlanta

AT&T said today that it will bring its GigaPower gigabit broadband offering to Chicago, Atlanta and three other Georgia markets, including Decatur, Newnan, and Sandy Spring. Back in April, AT&T said it was considering making its gigabit service available in as many as 100 cities nationwide, and it now has announced plans for some of the...Learn More