rural_townRural cable gigabit success stories are highlighted in a range of new blog posts from NCTA – The Internet & Television Association. The success stories come from tier 2 and 3 cable companies such as Mediacom and Alaska’s GCI. The initiative suggests that the cable companies want to position themselves as important broadband players in rural markets as an alternative to traditional telecom service providers.

Rural Cable Gigabit Success Stories
The rural cable gigabit success stories that NCTA highlights include:

  • Alaska’s GCI 1 GIG red offering highlighted the importance of high-speed broadband for homes with large numbers of users such as large families and young adults living with multiple roommates. The NCTA site highlights the contest that GCI created to determine where to deploy gigabit service first. Residents were encouraged to answer the question “What would you do if you had gigabit internet speed in your house?” and areas with the highest response levels would receive service first. The company expected to hear from a large number of gamers and others that use applications requiring a lot of bandwidth, but it was actually the large households that expressed the greatest interest.
    “In a state where terrain and weather can pose many social and economic challenges, people are always looking for things to do to keep themselves entertained,” the NCTA blog post notes. “Their ability to download movies and TV shows, use Apple TV, and stream without hiccups, is a pretty big deal, and gives people fewer qualms about moving to Alaska.”
  • Insights such as these may have influenced the positioning that Midco uses for the DOCSIS gigabit service it has deployed to 80% of its serving area, which includes parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Kansas. “The more people and devices you have online, the more likely Midco Gig is right for you,” the company states on its website.
  • Meanwhile, Mediacom has the distinction of offering DOCSIS-based gigabit throughout its entire serving area in Iowa and plans to offer gigabit throughout its 22-state footprint.
  • Not every cable gigabit deployment is DOCSIS-based, though. Eagle Communications also offers gigabit in some areas using DOCSIS technology. But when the residents of St. Francis, Kansas rallied together, Eagle deployed fiber-to-the-home to serve the community of approximately 1,300 people.

“Gigabit internet expansion is here, and it is completely transforming how rural communities grow and thrive,” observes NCTA on the landing page for its rural gigabit campaign. “People who once may have flocked to Silicon Valley or big cities are now more likely to consider more remote regions because of the advanced connectivity that would allow their business, entrepreneurial activities, entertainment and social lives to flourish. Small towns are beginning to compete with some of their more urban counterparts when it comes to telehealth, long distance learning, and economic vitality.”

NCTA was one of four broadband service provider groups that petitioned members of the senate agriculture committee this week asking them to change rules for the RUS broadband loan program to minimize the likelihood that another company would be able to get low-interest loans to deploy broadband in areas served, in part, by tier 2 and 3 cable companies or other providers.

Image courtesy of flickr user María de los Angeles Quiroz.