As awareness around rural 4G continues to heighten during a ‘jobless’ recovery economic cycle, the Rural Cellular Association is seizing on this momentum with the release of a jobs study. The study, done by a Columbia University Professor, Dr. Raul Katz, claims that extending roaming and interoperability requirements for 4G into rural America will create 117K jobs.

“Based on the premise that extending roaming obligations to data services and requiring interoperability among all carriers operating in the 700 MHz spectrum band will enable investment in wireless broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, Katz’s study shows that this investment will result in the creation and/or retention of 117,000 jobs in the nineteen states that have the lowest broadband availability and penetration in the United States,” the RCA outlined in a press release about the study.

4G roaming and interoperability issues for rural carriers are hot button issues. Large wireless carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, are building 4G networks in different 700 MHz spectrum bands than many smaller rural carriers, making interoperability and roaming difficult, but not impossible.

The concern is that equipment and devices built for Verizon and AT&T’s 4G network will not be able to operate on these rural carrier’s networks, making those networks and spectrum investments less valuable. Rural wireless advocates like RCA want the FCC to mandate that equipment and devices are built to handle 700 MHz spectrum bands for both camps.

“It is time for Congress and the FCC to act on behalf of American taxpayers to ensure job creation and retention and full use of the public’s spectral resources.  FCC action is well-overdue, and I again urge the FCC to act immediately to make data roaming and interoperability throughout the 700 MHz spectrum a reality,” said RCA President & CEO Steven K. Berry.

Stay tuned …

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