Regional wireless operator Bluegrass Cellular has successfully completed building its rural LTE network and will cover the whole of its operating footprint.
This has been done in a partnership effort with Verizon Wireless under the Verizon’s LTE in Rural America program. The operator based in Kentucky said the five-year deployment included the launch of 115 new LTE sites providing coverage to 732,000 potential customers in a 10,300 square mile radius.
RCRWireless News reported that as part of the Verizon Wireless LTE partnership, Bluegrass customers will have roaming access to a nationwide LTE network. In turn, Verizon Wireless customers will have roaming access to the network built by Bluegrass. It is a win-win situation for customers from both companies who will get to reap maximum benefits from the partnership.
Bluegrass partnered Verizon in 2010 becoming the first rural operator to sign up for the fairly controversial LTE in Rural America program. “The agreement called for Verizon Wireless to lease upper C-Block 700 MHz wireless spectrum in the Bluegrass Cellular service areas where Verizon Wireless did not plan on constructing its network,” RCRWireless News wrote.
Furthermore, they stated that the program relies on tower and backhaul assets from rural operators, with Verizon Wireless offering up 22 megahertz of wireless spectrum and core LTE equipment. The deal also provides for a reciprocal roaming arrangement between the parties. At the moment, Verizon Wireless has managed to sign up 21 operators across 15 states to the program.
In October, the company announced that all rural carriers under the program had launched LTE services to show their commitment. Initially, many industry players had problems with the program and wanted it halted. But, some changed tune after joining and started enjoying its benefits. At such a trying moment, Verizon showed great composure to handle the matter in a mature and professional way.