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.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents cited competition from national carriers as a significant concern, an equal percentage cited the ability to make necessary investments. Four percent of survey respondents characterized the process of obtaining financing for wireless projects as “virtually impossible,” 17% as “very difficult,” 44% as “somewhat difficult,” 22% as “relatively easy,” and 13% as “very easy.”

One-third of respondents have at one time been hindered in their ability to provide wireless service due to the actions of a national wireless carrier.

Forty-three percent of respondents utilize unlicensed spectrum to serve their customers; of those, 68% have experienced difficulties with interference and/or line of sight issues.

The latest edition of the annual survey was conducted in the late fall of 2016. One hundred and seven member companies responded.

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