The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), which represents more than 750 small, primarily rural broadband providers, has announced a program aimed at reducing members’ transport costs. Through the program, dubbed NCTC Broadband Solutions – Access Program, NCTC will negotiate master service transport agreements with major national carriers for NCTC member operators that opt into the program. The idea is to gain negotiating clout by aggregating demand from multiple operators.
“We have been in discussions with most of the tier one internet providers for some months now and today we have officially released our RFP to the carriers that we think have the potential to be great partners,” an NCTC spokesperson wrote in response to an email inquiry from Telecompetitor. “We hope to be announcing that we have selected a carrier partner or two in the coming weeks.”
NCTC Broadband Solutions – Access Program
In a press release., NCTC Vice President of Broadband Solutions Jared Baumann suggested that the deal could be beneficial for major carriers as well.
“This new program not only helps our members effectively meet the evolving market needs, but it also provides carriers with one point of contact for our entire member base, increasing their sales and operational efficiency,” he said.
Asked whether the comments about “one point of contact” means members would not be able to be in direct contact with the major providers, the NCTC spokesperson said, “The NCTC will manage the contracts, billing and agreements, but the technical contacts of our end member operators will be able to work directly with the technical contacts at the carriers to perform their necessary task. The NCTC is handling the headache of re-negotiating these contracts and working to get the member operator the very best rate. This gives our member operators the ability to focus on what really matters, taking care of their customers.”
NCTC may be best known as the organization that negotiates video programming deals on behalf of its members. The organization also has negotiated master agreements involving other types of partners, including equipment providers and over-the-top video providers.
The NCTC Broadband Solutions – Access Program would seem to be a logical venture for the organization.
“Helping smaller and rural markets be more competitive is what we have done for decades,” said NCTC CEO Rich Fickle in today’s press release.
This isn’t the first time smaller broadband providers have created agreements calling for them to work together to obtain better connectivity terms. Indatel, an organization comprised of statewide and regional fiber networks operated by smaller providers, has pursued similar deals for its members.
In response to Telecompetitor’s email, the NCTC spokesperson said NCTC has not had discussions with Indatel at this time but management doesn’t feel they are competing with that organization.