NetAmerica Alliance, the association of rural operators which formed last year to give smaller companies the economies of scale needed to roll out Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks within their respective operational footprints, has announced that its second company is expected to go live this week. Panhandle Telephone Cooperative Inc (PTCI), which is headquartered in Guymon, Oklahoma, is poised to launch LTE services in rural Oklahoma under the ‘Bonfire’ brand. Panhandle, which owns spectrum covering six counties covering over 45,000 people and more than 7,500 square miles, has rolled out a network consisting of 45 towers; at launch the network will cover 5,000 square miles and nearly 30,000 people.
Roger Hutton, chairman and CEO of NetAmerica, commented: ‘Panhandle is armed to serve the good citizens of Oklahoma with 4G LTE. This is why the Alliance was formed, to revitalise rural America with lifestyle and livelihood enhancing services, and today all the pieces have come together to make that happen’. Ron Strecker, CEO of PTCI, added: ‘It is indeed a special time for our customers, for rural America and for PTCI. Prior to joining the Alliance we evaluated the risks and complexity of deploying a 4G LTE network on our own and decided the alliance model made a lot of sense. I can say now, with the benefit of hindsight, that the decision was an excellent one. The alliance model was ready and we were able to focus on our business while still sharing knowledge with other members, gaining the benefit of brand positioning based on hard research, and cost effectively taking advantage of leading edge technology based on the IP Multmedia Subsystem architecture’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, NetAmerica’s first LTE affiliate, Texas-based Peoples Telephone Cooperative, inaugurated its 4G network in mid-February, utilising spectrum in the 700MHz frequency band.