A partnership between Rural Telecommunications of America, Inc. (RTA) and Internet of Things America (IoT America) aims to bring IoT capabilities such as soil monitoring to rural America. IoT America is a managed service provider focused on rural IoT opportunities. RTA is a network operator focused on rural America.
RTA did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Telecompetitor, but the company’s website emphasizes fixed wireless broadband and can be reached using URLs www.rta4all.com or, intriguingly, webuywisps.com.
Rural IoT Opportunities
The RTA and IoT America partnership initially involves IoT America providing soil monitoring, asset tracking and tank level monitoring to RTA customers. As a press release explains:
- Soil monitoring allows farmers to monitor soil temperature and moisture at various depths and couples it with humidity and air temperature data to support smart irrigation.
- Asset tracking lets farms, ranches and other businesses track valuable assets such as vehicles and equipment.
- Tank level monitoring aims to enhance productivity by monitoring diesel and water tank levels.
IoT America previously announced a similar deal with U.S. Cellular that will use the U.S. Cellular LTE and CDMA networks to transmit information from sensors to IoT America, which analyzes the data.
RTA’s website makes an interesting pitch to wireless ISPs (WISPs):
“As a business person, you face two choices to meet the growing demands of an increasingly sophisticated customer base. Scale or Sell. But what if your choice wasn’t one or the other? What if you could choose both?”
The wording suggests RTA isn’t simply a WISP consolidator, but instead gives WISPs the opportunity to raise funding for network investment, while transferring some control of their company to RTA. It’s an approach that is quite common in some other industries such as the home security market, and although I haven’t run across it in telecom before, it could make some sense in the WISP industry, which like the home security market, traditionally has had a large number of small players.
Rise Broadband also is acting as a WISP consolidator but has been purchasing companies outright.