Many Rural Schools and Libraries Have Access to Robust Broadband Networks, Survey Shows

For Immediate Release
Contact: Hillary Crowder, 703-351-2086, hcrowder@ntca.org 

Arlington, Va. (July 8, 2014) – Leveraging their entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to community and public-private partnerships, the nation’s small, independent telecommunications providers are already supplying most anchor institutions with substantial broadband connectivity, according to a new survey by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. 

The “NTCA Schools and Libraries Survey” found that survey respondents are currently deploying some form of broadband services to 96% of K–12 schools in their service areas and 98% of public libraries. Approximately 75% of schools receive fiber to the premises (FTTP), 17% use copper, about 5% receive fiber to the node (FTTN) and less than one percent use fixed wireless. Similarly, nearly 47% of public libraries are connected via FTTP, 38% use copper, and 13% receive FTTN. 

Regarding the speeds that are being offered, the survey indicated that NTCA members offer an average maximum speed of 435 Mbps down and 62 Mbps up to schools, and an average of 296 Mbps down and 47 Mbps up to public libraries. Schools on average purchase 65 Mbps down and 13 Mbps up, while libraries take 17 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up. 

The survey helps to underscore that smaller, community-based providers are already offering significant speeds to rural schools and libraries, and in most cases, these schools and libraries are currently able to obtain the speeds they need (and more) to fulfill their respective missions. 

“The results of this survey are a clear indication that NTCA members and other small, rural providers understand the importance of these anchor institutions having high-quality broadband service,” said NTCA Economist Rick Schadelbauer. “Our members have proven time and time again that they not only are interested in providing these services but that they are already doing a tremendous job of connecting their communities to enhance economic success.”

One hundred and twenty-four NTCA member companies participated in the June 2014 online survey. Respondents represent 34 states and 151 operating company study areas.

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.