NetAmerica Alliance (NAA) is building a consortium of rural wireless operators to build and operate a rural 4G LTE network. NAA is building a ‘core’ LTE network that their affiliates can leverage for build out of 4G services in their own markets, using both 700 MHz and AWS spectrum.
Today they announced the launch of a pilot network “to develop, test and refine operating methodologies prior to turn-up of commercial service.” According to NAA, the pilot network is the next step towards their affiliates launching commercial 4G LTE service in their respective markets. NAA did not reveal the location of this pilot.
The pilot provides NAA and its affiliates with visibility into processes, procedures, and network performance of the mobile broadband network. NAA claims the pilot is offering “… downlink data speeds of up to 28 Mbps and uplink data speeds of up to 13 Mbps.” As of August of this year, NAA had five confirmed affiliates, including Panhandle Telephone of Oklahoma, and Peoples Telephone and Etex Telephone, both of Texas. NAA says they have several more affiliate deals in the pipeline.
“The pilot network is providing members with the processes, procedures, and experience necessary to scale offerings in a commercial service. While other carriers are talking about what they are going to do for rural customers, NetAmerica members are taking actions in a measured but aggressive manner to make 4G LTE service a reality,” said Roger Hutton, Chairman and CEO of NetAmerica Alliance LLC.
I assume the “other” carriers Hutton refers to includes Verizon, who has made several announcements of their own regarding rural 4G. As of today, Verizon has 12 announced rural carrier partners for their LTE in Rural America program. As Hutton alludes to, and some of our readers have commented on, there’s little to report regarding actual build out of these rural 4G networks.