The relative silence of late regarding the Verizon LTE in Rural America program was broken today with news that Macon, Missouri based Chariton Valley Communications is the latest rural carrier to join Verizon’s Rural LTE program. Chariton Valley is now the 11th identified carrier to join the program.
“The LTE in Rural America program allows Chariton Valley’s customers to receive the same 4G wireless technology that is offered in major metropolitan areas and complements our existing wireless offerings,” said Chariton Valley General Manager Jim Simon in a press release.
We’ve covered this program since its inception in June of 2010. Under the terms of the program, Verizon Wireless leases 700 MHz upper C block wireless spectrum to its rural partners, who in turn build out rural territory with a 4G LTE network in markets that Verizon does not intend to overbuild. For Chariton Valley, this territory covers five counties in northeastern Missouri. Presumably, the rural partners gain roaming rights on Verizon’s 4G network, although details of any roaming agreements have not been revealed.
Chariton Valley is a long standing communications provider in Missouri and operates both wireline voice and broadband, wireless, and video networks.
The Verizon LTE in Rural America program is one of a few initiatives that are targeting rural markets for 4G service. Other options include NetAmerica Alliance and LightSquared (although LightSquared partners for both rural and urban markets). Actual rural 4G LTE network construction for all of these programs has been somewhat slow to date, but several companies have begun. We expect 2012 to see tangible construction momentum for some of these programs, with LightSquared being the wild card.
Other Verizon rural LTE partners include Custer Telephone, Carolina West Wireless, S and R Communications, Bluegrass Cellular, Cellcom, Cross Wireless, Pioneer Cellular, Strata Networks, Thumb Cellular, and Convergence Technologies.