NetAmeriaBuggs Island Telephone Cooperative said late yesterday that it has turned up 4G LTE broadband service under NetAmerica’s Bonfire brand in parts of its rural Virginia service territory.

A NetAmerica spokesperson confirmed that BIT, like all other NetAmerica participants that have operational LTE networks, is delivering fixed service.

NetAmerica aims to simplify the process of building out and operating LTE networks for rural carriers by consulting with them, offering wireless equipment at volume discounts and by offering a common brand – Bonfire – for any rural carriers that want to use it.

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“We have members operating in eleven markets in six states – some of whom are about to enter their third year of commercial 4G LTE service,” said the NetAmerica spokesperson. The first NetAmerica participant to turn up service was People Telephone Cooperative in Texas.

The Buggs Island LTE Network
Buggs Island won a broadband stimulus award in 2010 to cover some of the cost of bringing broadband to rural Virginia. The company also received a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission for the same purpose.

The company joined the NetAmerica alliance in January of this year.

NetAmerica also is working with Sprint on that carrier’s SMART program that will let rural carriers lease Sprint spectrum to deploy Sprint-compatible LTE networks.

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