4G LTEThe Verizon LTE in Rural America program has added another partner — KPU Telecommunications of Ketchikan, Alaska. KPU is a municipally owned FTTH triple play provider in southeastern Alaska, serving 6,000 access lines. KPU joins 18 or so other rural wireless carriers in Verizon’s Rural LTE program.

Under the terms of the LTE in Rural America Program, regional and rural wireless carriers enter into an agreement with Verizon Wireless (VZW) to lease 700 MHz upper C block wireless spectrum. They also agree to build out a 4G LTE wireless network, which conforms to VZW specifications, and leverages a VZW 4G LTE core network. The strategy helps VZW expand their 4G LTE footprint into rural markets and helps those rural carriers gain access to 4G spectrum to offer 4G LTE in their own markets. Their customers also get to roam onto VZW’s nationwide 4G LTE network.

“Our decision to deploy 4G LTE technology ensures that we will be able to offer wireless customers in Ketchikan the same state of the art LTE network capabilities that are being deployed in larger urban markets in the United States and around the world. This will result in enhanced high speed wireless data services for our customers locally and when traveling away from home,” said KPU General Manager Karl Amylon in a press release.

These announcements tend to come in spurts, so we may soon hear about other new rural partners for this Verizon LTE program. By our count, KPU is the 19th carrier to join the program, but there may be more. Several of these carriers have already launched 4G LTE services under this program, including Bluegrass, Cellcom, Pioneer Cellular, Chariton Valley, and Cross Wireless. A few have also launched LTE enabled iPhones.

Other carriers in the program include Appalachian Wireless, Cellular One, Chariton Valley, Custer Telephone, Carolina West Wireless, S and R Communications, Cellcom, Cross Wireless, Strata Networks, Thumb Cellular, Bluegrass Cellular, Convergence Technologies, Chat Mobility, Northwest Missouri Cellular, Matanuska Telephone, and Nemont.

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