A Snapshot of NTCA Members' Wireless Successes

New Edge  NTCA members continue to make advances in bringing wireless service to their customers, despite the numerous inherent obstacles, according to the just-released NTCA 2016 Wireless Survey Report.

One-half of survey respondents are currently providing wireless service to their customers. Of those, 89% are offering fixed broadband, 41% fixed voice, 39% mobile broadband, and 36% mobile voice.

Of those not currently offering wireless service, 17% are currently considering doing so, 62% have considered it in the past and deemed it not feasible, and 21% have never considered offering wireless.

Fifty percent of survey respondents hold a 3650–3700 MHz license, 35% a lower 700 MHz license, 29% an 800 MHz license and 27% an AWS license.

Survey respondents have invested considerable resources in their wireless operations. The median total (cumulative) investment in wireless facilities, excluding spectrum, is $1.2 million, and the median total (cumulative) investment in spectrum $65 thousand.

RTIME 2017 Daily Recap - Day 2

Day 2 was jampacked with incredible energy and riveting information. Today, we:

  • Recognized Doug Boone's term as NTCA Board president.
  • Heard the latest business developments from Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA CEO.
  • Learned how to build bonding relationship with telco customers.
  • Tapped into how rural broadband providers can strengthen and change the perception of rural America.
  • Gained an understanding as to why it's important to induce a good company culture.
  • Brought thousands of customers to supplies to drive major business relationships.

NTCA Board President

We would like to thank Doug Boone, chief executive officer (CEO) of Premier Communications (Sioux Center, Iowa), for his incredible service to the rural broadband industry and the association as the NTCA Board president, and we welcome Bill Hegmann, of Southwest Arkansas Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Texarkana, Ark.), as the new Board president.

RTIME 2017 Daily Recap - Day 1

Welcome to the first RTIME 2017 Daily Recap

Building your brand's reputation.
Learning how the evolution of precision agriculture is changing the way we feed the world.
Engineering a strategy to monetize Wi-Fi management in homes and businesses. 
Witnessing a historic moment in Super Bowl history. 

These are only a few discussions and moments shared among the RTIME 2017 conference attendees. 

Groundhog Day: Is Technology Advancing or Hindering Our Personal Relationships?

  My closest friends will confirm that I am sometimes not the quickest to pick up on unspoken social cues. While I am capable of deciphering certain FCC-type codes (for example, when the FCC says, “enhanced requirements,” the likelihood is that the result will be “more onerous requirements”), there have been times where I have needed a gentle prompt to be properly responsive (for example, being guided that the correct response to a lady’s, “Is it cold in here” is to offer one’s jacket, rather than, “Nope, feels just fine”). Fortunately, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a wearable that “lets you know how the conversation is going.”

Are Internet-Connected TVs Nearing Saturation?

New Edge  Nearly three-quarters of all American broadband households have at least one television set that is connected to the Internet, The Diffusion Group (TDG) reported this week.

This represents 50% overall growth since 2013, when 50% of all broadband households had an Internet-connected television.

However, on a year-by-year basis, growth is slowing. The number of broadband households with Internet-connected TVs grew 22% between 2013 and 2014, and 15% between 2014 and 2015. From 2015 to 2016, the growth rate was only 4%.

“At 74% penetration, connected TV use is squarely in the Late Mainstream phase of its trajectory,” said Michael Greeson, TDG president and director of research. “Barring any major disruption in TV technology or market conditions, growth will slow each year as the solution reaches saturation.”

It's Nice to Be Important--But More Important to Be Nice

  New Edge  Regardless of the quality of video service offered to an end user, poor customer service can result in customers moving on to other providers.

That is the takeaway from a recent worldwide survey conducted by Paywizard. Foremost among the survey’s findings: 84% of respondents said they would cancel their pay-TV service if a provider lets them down. Further, 24% have cancelled service within the past 12 months due to a poor customer service experience, while 46% have remained loyal to their provider because of a positive customer experience.

“We are seeing a tremendous shift taking place in the pay-TV marketplace, with customer experience emerging as critical to television service providers’ success—in many cases, their very survival,” said Bhavesh Vaghela, Paywizard’s chief operating officer. “With industry projections indicating roughly a billion pay-TV subscriptions are up for grabs this year—and billions in revenue are on the line—it is clear from the research that pay-TV operators today ignore customer experience at their peril.”

Smart Home Tech Favorable to One-Third Americans

  Last week, I arrived home from a trip and watched my kids frantically tap the side of Surfer the Fish’s bowl (Surfer was featured in this New Edge post two years ago). Like all American dads, I had turned the heat down in the house while we were away, and upon our return there was a palpable fear that my interest in energy efficiency had killed the tropical fish. Thankfully (and I say that with a deep interest in self-preservation), Surfer was alive, and shimmied to the top of the bowl when some food was dropped in. Of course, had I been more fully connected, none of this would have happened.

A recent report by Parks Associates finds that approximately one-third of US households favor systems that manage or monitor their home energy usage. The numbers are slightly below the total US households that find security or safety monitoring systems appealing.

I Went to the Beach and I Couldn't Take My Mind Off of School

  This past week, my family ditched our nearly-annual winter trip to Pennsylvania and traded snow for sunshine, spending several days in Florida. We did not go to a single amusement park. Instead, we took advantage of other attractions offered by the Sunshine State, including the Everglades, the ocean, and Kennedy Space Center.

I don’t mean to diminish Disney or the other studio-based venues. My rationale was that travel should include new experiences. What’s the point of going somewhere if the scenery is same strip of Starbucks, Target, Walgreen’s and Kohl’s?

The Risks of Rural Living

New Edge  While living in rural America has numerous benefits, including lower cost of living, affordable housing and abundant green space, a new study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that rural residents are at higher risk of death from five leading causes than their urban counterparts.

According to the study, entitled “Leading Causes of Death in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Areas—United States, 1999-2014,” the five leading causes of death in the U.S. between 1999 and 2014 were heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. Together, these accounted for more than 1.6 million deaths (approximately 62% of all deaths) in 2014.

CDC found that annual age-adjusted death rates for these five causes were higher in nonmetropolitan areas than in metropolitan areas between 1999 and 2014. Age-adjusted death rates for unintentional injury were approximately 50% higher in nonmetropolitan areas. While the overall rate of deaths from stroke, heart disease and cancer decreased in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas over the period, the rate of decrease in deaths due to heart disease and cancer was slower in nonmetropolitan areas, and the rate of deaths due to stroke was about the same.

“This new study shows that there is a striking gap in health between rural and urban Americans,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “To close this gap, we are working to better understand and address the health threats that put rural Americans at increased risk of early death.”

Home Telecom: 'Telecom 2020: A Vision for the Future'

“Any Content, Every Device, All Networks”

Imagine that you wake up tomorrow and want to watch your favorite TV show. The program will not play. You don’t have the specified device that the content owner now requires this program to be played on. It is only available on a particular device per an exclusive agreement between the content owner and the device manufacturer. Not only is your device prohibiting your viewing, but you also have the “wrong” video provider. The TV program you want to watch is owned by a video provider you don’t wish to use, but the show you want to watch can now only be seen on the video system that owns the program. Bad things can happen if content, devices, and networks are all controlled by the same party.

Scenarios like the nightmare described above is what Home Telecom is constantly fighting to avoid. As an industry leader, we keep our finger on the heartbeat of events that would directly impact our customers. Rules and laws impacting how we communicate are constantly changing. In addition, it seems mega mergers are announced several times a year; the big just keep getting bigger. Home Telecom is constantly monitoring the communication environment, working with our lawmakers and regulators to make sure that any changes in communications laws and regulations are for the better, not the worse.