rural_townRural telecom consolidation continues with the news yesterday that Pennsylvania-based broadband provider Laurel Highland Total Communications will acquire LTC Communications and its wholly owned subsidiaries.

LTC is also based in Pennsylvania. Its assets include an independent telephone company and long-distance company.

Rural Telecom Consolidation
This is not the first time LHTC has played the role of rural telecom consolidator. The company can trace its roots back more than a century when it was established to provide phone service in rural Pennsylvania. It has made several acquisitions since then, including its 2013 purchase of the assets of the South Canaan Telephone Company, another Pennsylvania-based company. It also has acquired local radio stations.

LHTC now offers broadband and video as well as voice service.

LTC apparently keeps a very low profile. A Google search did not uncover a website for the company. But according to the National Broadband Map, the company’s serving area has a population of 5,582.

According to the Broadband Search website, the maximum broadband download speed that LTC offers is 50 Mbps via DSL, suggesting there may be considerable upside potential in the company’s serving area if LHTC were to invest in network upgrades. A spokesperson for LHTC did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Telecompetitor asking for information about LTC’s broadband capabilities.

In yesterday’s press release, LHTC President and CEO James J. Kail said the company looks forward “to providing superior communication services and being actively involved in the communities served by LTC.”

Rural telecom consolidation is driven in large part by the desire to achieve economies of scale in a business increasingly dominated by a small number of large carriers.

Other companies that have played the role of rural telecom consolidator include USConnect, LICT subsidiary Central Scott Telephone, Shawnee Communications and others.  Consolidation also is occurring in the rural cable and rural wireless businesses.

Image courtesy of flickr user María de los Angeles Quiroz.

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