, a Colorado based rural wireless network operator, has signed a that could reach $100 million. The deal provides the equipment necessary to build Open Range’s broadband wireless network, which spans 546 rural markets, across 17 states, covering 6 million people.

Open Range through the RUS Broadband Loan program for the build out. Under the terms of the deal, Open Range will use , which utilizes an all IP architecture for radio access equipment, customer devices (CPE) and systems integration.

Details of Open Range’s product portfolio are a little sketchy. They’ve been on record for some time saying they will offer broadband Internet access at a minimum of 1.5 Mbps download and up to 512 kbps upload for less than $40 per month. They also plan to offer unlimited national voice services for less than $30 per month. “Open Range’s unique business model focuses on delivering wireless high-speed Internet and voice services to un-served and underserved communities,” said Open Range founder and CEO, Bill Beans Jr.

Open Range joins a growing fraternity of new carriers including and , all of whom offer (or plan to) WiMAX in rural markets. Rural WiMAX ‘s stock appears to be growing and may reach even , thanks to the broadband stimulus program. News like this is good for rural WiMAX stakeholders. Significant deals like this contribute to a healthy rural WiMAX ecosystem – an ecosystem that will be required to sustain rural WiMAX service providers over the long term.

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