Solving the rural broadband challenge

We talk a lot about the need to bring more spectrum to market for mobile broadband consumers (see here, here, here, here, here, and here for recent examples). While we, as a network provider, relish any opportunity to connect more people – and now “things” – to the Internet, our vision regarding the connected 21st-century isn’t limited to users who happen to be Verizon customers. A reliable Internet connection is important for people’s productivity, health care or just being connected for news, no matter where they live/work/play, or who their carrier is.

That’s one reason why about five years ago Verizon launched the LTE in Rural America (LRA) program: to help rural wireless companies across America deliver the promise of mobile 4G LTE broadband to their customers.

The program is simple enough: our partner rural carriers can access our 700MHz spectrum and leverage Verizon’s top-rated network via a mutual roaming relationships and their customer. Our customers get a strong signal when inside partner territories, and their customers can use Verizon’s 4G LTE network wherever their travels may take them. Beyond spectrum, we also work with rural carriers to provide core network services, IT integration, and device certification, allowing them to offer their customers a 4G LTE network that is on par with the very best in the country.

Today, we’re excited to announce that all 21 LRA participants have launched their 4G LTE service. Here are just a few accomplishments the program mas achieved since launch:

  • 2.7 million people are covered by 4G LTE technology, across 169 rural counties in 15 states
  • 240,000 square miles of Verizon’s spectrum is leased by LRA participants
  • 1,000+ 4G LTE cell sites have been activated, covering an area larger than Colorado

Our LRA partners are offering more than just 4G mobile phone plans; 4G LTE technology is serving customers in unique ways and places, including:

  • Paducah & Louisville Railway – Installing a traditional telephone wireline circuit to track the location of trains is cost-prohibitive in very remote areas of the country. However, with advances in wireless technology and the Internet of Things (IoT), Verizon is helping to make the necessary connections in Kentucky and other rural areas.
  • KMA Broadcasting – In the rural farming communities of Southwest Iowa, getting the latest news about weather can mean the difference between a profitable harvest and a year in the red. When the National Weather Service issues a severe weather alert, KMA Broadcasting often is the first place local residents learn about it, thanks to 4G LTE.
  • Heartland Medical  – The Heartland Mobile Health unit from Montgomery County Memorial Hospital (MCMH) serves a large rural expanse of the state with very few doctors.  If not for the mobile clinic, many residents would have to drive long distances, delay their routine visits or perhaps skip altogether important primary, preventive and other crucial care.

Click here for a full list of LRA participating carriers.