Volume 12, Number 23, June 22, 2009 - Ohio PUC Suspends Verizon-Frontier Deal

Industry Events

Webcast: Best Practices in Records Management
(July 9)


Regional Meetings


NTCA Finance & Accounting Conference
(Sep 8-11)


NTCA Fall Conference
(Sept 13-16)


TelcoTV 2009
(Nov 10-12):
Topic Proposals Due Today!


TelcoTV 2009
(Nov 10-12)


The Marketplace


Read NTCA's New ePaper on Cloud Computing


DTV Transition Q&A for Telcos


Log On, Link Up and Learn




NTCA.org | NTCA Events | NTCA Publications

TelcoTV: CEO of TVN/Avail to Keynote
The merger of TVN Entertainment and Avail Media has been making a lot of buzz in the industry. According to the company, the merged entity will be the largest independent provider of end-to-end content-aggregation, management and service offerings, and will deliver content from over 200 partners, including Hollywood movie studios, cable networks and independent producers, to over 46 million homes and 120 million viewers. Ramu Potarazu, CEO of TVN/Avail will be giving one of the keynote presentations at TelcoTV 2009. Stay tuned for more keynote announcements. Register to attend TelcoTV today!

Volume 12, Number 23, June 22, 2009

Ohio PUC Suspends Verizon-Frontier Deal

Nationwide WiMAX Operator Selects Alvarion

Rural Broadband Adoption Jumps 22%

NTCA Releases Cloud Computing ePaper

...And last but not least, our video of the week

Ohio PUC Suspends Verizon-Frontier Deal

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has suspended its approval of a proposed deal between Verizon Communications Inc. and Frontier Communications Inc., acting on requests from a potential competitor and consumer advocate, the Ironton Tribune reported today.

Just last month Verizon agreed to allow Frontier to acquire approximately 4.8 million access lines across 14 states, in a deal worth $8.6 billion. (See the May 18 issue for more.) If approved, the transaction will create the largest pure rural communications services provider and the nation's fifth largest ILEC with more than 7 million access lines and 8.6 million voice and broadband connections.

Potential competitor Cincinnati Bell Extended Territories filed comments with the Ohio PUC, but the loudest alarm came from the Ohio Consumers Counsel, which submitted its objections to the deal last month. The Ohio Consumers Counsel maintains that it simply wants the PUC to ensure the transaction is in the public's best interest.

In response to the Ohio PUC's suspension, Verizon said the action is "routine" and "not unexpected." The company did, however, object to the Ohio Consumers Counsel's request for numerous public hearings on the matter.

Verizon is experiencing some unpleasant deja vu. As you may remember, it took more than a year to complete the sale of Verizon's rural lines to FairPoint Communications while the transaction was heavily scrutinized in public hearings in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The FairPoint deal eventually was approved.

Read the Ironton Tribune article.

Nationwide WiMAX Operator Selects Alvarion

Colorado-based Open Range Communications Inc. has selected Alvarion for the nation's largest Rural Utilities Service (RUS) funded WiMAX deployment.

Open Range plans to begin offering wireless broadband service in the fourth quarter of this year using Alvarion's WiMAX 802.16e BreezeMAX solution. As part of this contract, expected to be more than $100 million over a five-year implementation, Alvarion will provide radio access equipment, customer devices and systems integration.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Open Range as they make history building 4G broadband infrastructure in a large footprint to provide personalized broadband services to consumers in un-served and underserved parts of the country," said Tzvika Friedman, president and CEO of Alvarion. "Open Range's vision to connect rural America will stimulate local development for many rural communities across the U.S."

As first reported back in November, Open Range has obtained a $267-million loan from the Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Utilities Program (RDUP) to deliver portable, and eventually mobile voice and Internet services, to customers utilizing WiMAX technology. To accomplish the task, Open Range is leasing 2.5 GHz spectrum from satellite provider Globalstar. Within the next five years, Open Range intends to provide service to 546 communities, across 17 states, serving six million people.

Open Range is among a new crop of wireless broadband operators which plan to target rural areas across the United States. DigitalBridge Communications (see the June 30, 2008, issue) also has committed to Alvarion's WiMAX solution and is targeting communities with less than 150,000 people. Main Street Broadband (see the March 30, 2009, issue) plans to serve areas in Florida and Georgia.

View Alvarion's release.

Rural Broadband Adoption Jumps 22%

Despite the downturn in the economy, broadband adoption in the United States has grown this year, this according to a new report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Pew's latest survey report, "Home Broadband Adoption 2009," released last week at the Internet Innovation Alliance's National Broadband Strategy Symposium, found that 63% of Americans have home broadband connections, up from 55% in May 2008. The report confirms especially large broadband adoption increases among rural residents, senior citizens and low-income households in 2009.

The percentage of rural residents with broadband connections increased from 38% in 2008 to 46% in 2009, a 22% increase in just one year. In comparison, in 2006 just 25% of rural Americans had home broadband. Of note, however, the rural-urban gap has not diminished; the 20% gap between rural and urban adoption of broadband first identified in 2006 has been consistent in all the Pew surveys.

Pews also found that 55% of home broadband users said broadband was very important to at least one dimension of their lives and community, such as communicating with health care providers, government officials, sharing information about the community, or contributing to economic growth.

"For many Americans, a home broadband connection is a conduit for connecting to community and economic opportunity," said John B. Horrigan, Associate Director of the Pew Internet Project and principal author of the report. "That puts broadband in the 'must keep' category for most users, even when economic times are tough."

In fact, the growth in broadband adoption indicates that the economic recession has had little effect on decisions about whether to buy or keep a residential high-speed connection. The Pew Internet Project's April 2009 survey found that people are twice as likely to say they have cut back or cancelled a cell phone plan or cable TV service than Internet service.

The nationwide growth in home broadband adoption occurred even though survey respondents reported paying more for broadband compared to May 2008. Last year, the average monthly bill for residential broadband Internet service was $34.50, compared to $39.00 this year.

Read more.

NTCA Releases Cloud Computing ePaper

Application service providers (ASP), software as a service (SaaS), on-demand applications, hosted or managed services, cloud computing—each of these concepts is similar in nature. Regardless of what buzz word you choose, the same general principle emerges: the movement of applications from the desktop or server further back into the network, or the cloud. The product or application is then delivered to the end user via the Internet.

Many global tech companies and startups have entered the cloud computing fray, offering a wide variety of products and services, each targeted at perhaps a different audience. Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Verizon Business, Salesforce.com -- these are just a few of the companies blazing the cloud computing trail.

With the advent and prevalence of IP technology and network bandwidth, cloud computing might enable broadband service providers to move further up the stack, away from simply delivering a high-speed pipe, to offering new and innovative applications, and potentially creating new revenue streams.

Read NTCA's June 2009 ePaper to learn more about cloud computing, and the potential it holds for rural telecom providers.

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And, last but not least, our video of the week, Mayo Clinic Piano, courtesy of Bev Brix, Office Manager at River Valley in Graettinger, Iowa. A couple from Des Moines walked into the lobby of the Mayo Clinic and spotted a piano. They've been married for 62 years and he'll be 90 this year.

Have you recently seen a funny, entertaining or informational video? "The New Edge" would love to hear from you. Please send your suggestions for the next "video of the week" to jward@ntca.org and your video might be featured in an upcoming issue.

Tech Forums

The Marketplace

Read NTCA's New ePaper on Cloud Computing
With the advent and prevalence of IP technology and network bandwidth, cloud computing might enable broadband service providers to move further up the stack, away from simply delivering a high-speed pipe, to offering new and innovative applications, and potentially creating new revenue streams. Read NTCA's June 2009 ePaper to learn more about cloud computing, and the potential it holds for rural telecom providers.

DTV Transition Q&A for Telcos - Updated with Delay Info!
NTCA has prepared a question and answer document for telco customer service representatives to use to address customer calls about the digital television transition. The document features explanations for a broad range of typical questions. Also, this information piece may be used by telcos for posting on your Web site or in your upcoming newsletters. NTCA encourages you to use this downloadable document for your efforts to educate customers about the upcoming changes to DTV. If you have any questions, please contact Steve Fravel at 703-351-2012.

Log On, Link Up and Learn. Join NTCA’s Tech Community
As you well know, the telecom industry is evolving at an increasingly fast pace. Rural telecom professionals need to maintain access lines and trouble-shoot existing issues, while also developing new, cutting-edge technologies. Learn new strategies to manage the chaos and keep up with industry trends. Join NTCA's Tech Community today and utilize one of your best assets – your peers. Visit http://tech.ntca.org to learn more.

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Industry Events

Webcast: Best Practices in Records Management (July 9)
Join us for an informative webcast on records retention and management. How long should you retain documents such as resumes, applications and salary records? Is your company at risk for a potential lawsuit due to the mishandling of current and former employee records? Answers to these questions and more will be addressed during this 60-minute webcast with James Wehner, attorney from Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered, who will provide insight on the proper handling of employee records. Registration fee: $199 per NTCA member site, $250 per nonmember site. The webcast will be held July 9, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Learn more.

Regional Meetings (July-Oct)
Register today to take advantage of an affordable two-day meeting, close to home. The 2009 Regional Meetings will offer resources and training on "Finding Opportunities in Tough Economic Times." Understand the outlook and trends of the economy to unlock business opportunities for your telco with noted economist Dr. Seifried. Key topics also will include product positioning tactics, application-layer services, important federal initiatives and cooperative business practices. Find more details on your region's meeting and registration here.

NTCA Finance & Accounting Conference (Sep 8-11)
Plan to spend Sept. 8-11, 2009 at NTCA's Finance & Accounting Conference. This conference offers you and your financial team a comprehensive program that covers financial management and accounting techniques. Discover strategies needed to cope with one of the most challenging economies in U.S. history. Now, more than ever, employers are counting on you to keep a watchful eye on revenue and expenses. Keep your financial skills sharp, focused and current by attending a conference focused solely on managing the economics of the rural telecom industry. Register today. Early bird ends August 7.

NTCA 2009 Fall Conference  (Sept 13-16)
Register today to join NTCA in the bright lights of New York City, September 13-16. During motivating general sessions and educational sessions, you will learn key strategies to establish your telco as the community leader of change. Fill your toolbox with the knowledge and resources needed to thrive during uncertain times. All conference meetings and attendee housing will be in one location, The Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, conveniently located in the heart of Manhattan. Housing opens June 15.

TelcoTV 2009 (Nov 10-12): Topic Proposals Due Today!
We invite you to become part of our growing ecosystem by submitting a proposal to speak at this year's conference, November 10-12, 2009, in Orlando, Fl. We are expecting an enthusiastic audience of telecom service providers, ranging from the smallest cooperative to Fortune 50 companies like Verizon and AT&T. They will all be looking to our speakers to provide them meaningful insight and analysis into the evolving world of entertainment convergence. Are you up to that challenge? If so, please submit your proposal. Submissions are due by June 22 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. For more information, visit the Web site.

TelcoTV 2009 (Nov 10-12)
Remember to register early to save big. Use the promotional code NTCA and save 25% off the Standard or VIP Conference Pass. Interested in sending your whole team to the show? The 2009 event boasts the best team discounts we've ever offered!  This year, send a group of 3 or more and save $200 a person. Team Discount is valid on the Standard or VIP Pass only. You must register a group of 3 or more from the same company at the same time to qualify. Enter the Group Code RRTEAM and remember-discounts CAN be combined with another Promotional Discount Code for maximum savings. For more information on TelcoTV 2009, visit the Web site.