Great Plains Communications Sold to Private Equity Firm

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Regional carrier Great Plains Communications has entered into an agreement to be acquired by private equity firm Grain Management LLC. The transaction highlights ongoing interest in broadband and fiber carrier assets by private equity firms. Terms were not disclosed. Nebraska-based Great Plains Communications has its...Learn More

FCC Rural Healthcare Fund Poised for $171 Million Annual Budget Increase

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The USF rural healthcare fund appears set to get an increase in its budget cap of $171 million annually, which would bring its annual budget to $571 million from its current $400 million. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a press release today stating that a...Learn More

FCC: Rural Carrier USF Contribution Base Won’t Include Internet Revenues

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Rural rate of return (ROR) carriers that have had to pay into the Universal Service Fund (USF) based on internet as well as voice revenues will now have to pay only based on voice revenues. Other carriers pay into the fund only as a percentage...Learn More

Vision Net Expands Fiber Network

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Regional fiber network operator Vision Net is adding 70 miles of new fiber broadband to Billings and Helena, MT, to answer customer demand. Vision Net has a long history of providing communications services throughout Montana, and was formed and currently owned by several independent telcos...Learn More

Pai Wants to Extend Mobility Fund Challenge Process

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to extend the Connect America mobility fund challenge process by 90 days. At issue is a map issued by the FCC that shows certain areas having LTE coverage where some say that coverage does not exist. Pai’s action came in...Learn More

Broadband Service Provider Associations Seek Changes to RUS Broadband Loan Rules

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Several groups representing broadband providers co-signed a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee asking them to change RUS broadband loan rules to focus funding on areas where either all, or at least 90%, of the population cannot get broadband...Learn More

NineStar Connect Water Company Acquisition Would Provide More Fiber Broadband Expansion Opportunities

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NineStar Connect, the Indiana company formed in 2011 when a telecom cooperative and an electric cooperative merged, has since expanded into the water and sewer business and is pursuing an additional water company acquisition. In an interview, NineStar Connect Director of Marketing David Spencer said...Learn More

FCC to Tackle Rural Telecom Issues: USF Contributions, Access Charges, TDM-to-IP Transition

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The FCC has a lot on its agenda for its next monthly meeting – including three items involving rural telecom issues. The FCC rural telecom issues pertain to rural carrier contributions to the Universal Service Fund (USF), potential access charge rule changes and a possible...Learn More

Windstream CEO: Broadband and DIRECTV NOW Bundle Should be Effective Competitive Weapon Against Cable

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Windstream’s strategy for competing against cable companies will be based on a combination of Windstream broadband and other companies’ over-the-top (OTT) video offerings, said Windstream CEO Tony Thomas at an investor conference today. Asked about Windstream’s value proposition in the 50% of its local service...Learn More

CAF Auction Bidders Could Include Verizon, Cox, Windstream, Frontier, Viasat, Many More

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The FCC this week released lists of companies that have submitted complete and partially complete applications to participate in the upcoming $2 billion Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II reverse auction to award broadband funding rejected by the nation’s largest local service providers in 20...Learn More

Coalition Proposes Alternate CBRS Auction Plan, Licenses by County and Census Tract

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A coalition of 11 carriers and corporations, eight industry associations and the nation’s largest port authority have sent the FCC an auction proposal for the CBRS spectrum band that represents a middle ground between rules currently in place and a proposal submitted recently by organizations...Learn More

FCC Poised to Free Up 2.5 GHz EBS Spectrum for Broadband, Primarily in Rural Areas

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The FCC is getting set to free up as much as 194 MHz of unused spectrum in the educational broadband service (EBS) band, primarily in rural areas. The EBS spectrum is in the 2.5 GHz band and potentially could support fixed wireless broadband service, although...Learn More

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