Kentucky has been a proving ground for Verizon’s LTE in Rural America (LRA) program, which brings the benefits of high-speed wireless 4G LTE service to many of the state’s most remote areas. Elizabethtown-based Bluegrass Cellular was the first carrier to partner in Verizon’s nationwide program, which is now five years old.
Since 2010, 20 more LRA participants have jumped on board, and these agreements have expanded live 4G LTE coverage into rural markets covering more than 100,000 square miles in 15 states and reaching 2.4 million people. Once additional leases go live, LRA will cover 240,000 square miles and 2.9 million people. Alliance Corporation, a construction company based in rural Glasgow, KY, is an example of why the LRA program is essential to rural America.
Alliance employees are typically working at remote sites across Kentucky and Tennessee, and they depend on the high-speed wireless connection provided by Bluegrass Cellular to work efficiently and stay in constant contact. “Communication is instant now,” said Lea King, client relations director for Alliance Corporation. “We no longer have a hardwired Internet on any job site. We cover several sites and it doesn’t matter where we’re located, we have the same service and LTE connection.” In the past, Alliance Corporation had to install landlines at all constructions sites each time it took on a new job. Since partnering with Bluegrass Cellular and obtaining access to the Verizon 4G LTE network, Alliance employees can connect without the hassle and expense of hardwired technology.
“There aren’t any issues with dropping calls, even in metal construction trailers,” Lea said. “We’re able to cut costs by upgrading that cell service to wireless because we lose the hardwired internet lines.”
Safety is a major concern for Alliance Corporation, whose employees spend the majority of their time in construction zones. The Alliance Safety Director also relies on the 4G LTE connection. “[The Safety Director] uses his smartphone rather than having to carry any large equipment and can easily take pictures to send directly to his email,” Lea said. “Instead of leaving the site to do his work, he can create his entire safety report using wireless data in the construction trailers.”
Job site superintendents also now hold progress meetings, connect with architects and create full-service office spaces in construction site trailers, Lea said. “We came back to Bluegrass Cellular even before they had the 4G LTE services because they already had a great data plan,” Lea said. “You can’t even compare today’s network speed to other carriers when working in rural areas.”