Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Helping Rural Telecoms Bridge the Rural/urban Divide with Broadband

Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Helping Rural Telecoms Bridge the Rural/urban Divide with Broadband

Article excerpt

NTCA--The Rural Broadband Association is a nonprofit association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. These "telecoms" serve customers in the rural areas of 46 states, with a service area that covers more than 40 percent of the nation's landmass.

On average, the customer density of NTCA member companies is about seven subscribers per square mile. In an era of rapidly evolving technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA's goal is to ensure that rural Americans receive telecommunications service on par with those available to urban residents--and at comparable rates.

NTCAs members are complete communications providers, offering every service from high-speed Internet to video and voice services. NTCA members are delivering services that make rural markets vibrant places to live, work, raise a family and remain competitive with technological innovation.

A 2013 survey of NTCA members found that 100 percent of respondents offer broadband to their customers, compared with 58 percent of respondents in 2000. Nearly two-thirds of NTCA members provide broadband services at speeds of more than 10 megabits per second.

In addition to broadband and voice services, more than three-quarters of NTCA members offer video services to their customers, including Internet Protocol (IP)-based television services and traditional cable TV. Another 60 percent provide wireless communications service. NTCA member companies currently deploy broadband services to 96 percent of K-12 schools in their service areas and 98 percent of public libraries. …

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