Carolina West Wireless, a unit of Clear Stream Communications LLC, is the latest rural services telecompetitor to sign up to partner with Verizon in the latter’s LTE in Rural America initiative. Verizon and Clear Stream will partner to build and operate a 4G network in northwestern North Carolina, making use of the Carolina West’s tower and backhaul assets and Verizon’s core LTE equipment.
Established in 2010, Verizon’s LTE in Rural America initiative aims to partner with rural wireless and wireline carriers to bring 4G wireless services to rural areas across the U.S. using 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology. It entails Verizon leasing access to its 700 MHz spectrum with rural operators who have network assets in territories that Verizon does not intend to build out.
“This is a significant step forward in our pursuit of consistently providing our customers with the most reliable and efficient wireless data technology available,” said Slayton S. Stewart, CEO of Carolina West Wireless and managing partner of Clear Stream Communications, LLC. “Our partnership with Verizon Wireless in the LTE in Rural America initiative will allow us the opportunity to provide 4G technology to our customers, affording them the benefits of faster wireless capabilities ultimately improving and enhancing the overall customer experience.”
Carolina West Wireless was formed in 1991 and is owned by rural ILECs Skyline Telephone, Surry Telephone and Wilkes Telephone in a partnership.
When up and running, Carolina West subscribers will gain access to 4G LTE network services, as well as to Verizon Wireless’s nationwide LTE network, a work in progress. Launched in December 2010, it now covers 38 metro areas and more than 110 million people. Verizon expects the latter to increase to 200 million by mid-2012 and 290 million by the end of 2013. Verizon touts its 4G LTE network as having speeds up to 10x faster than 3G networks, with average download speeds ranging from 5-12 Mb/s.
Verizon Wireless has been busy selling rural telcos on the idea of joining its rural 4G services program since its launch in mid-2010. Last week, S and R Communications became the seventh to do so, joining Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, Cross Wireless, Pioneer Cellular, Strata Networks and Thumb Cellular.