In The News

Navajo Nation Bridges the Digital Divide

Interactive Video Conferencing and Distance Learning a Reality for Navajo Students

Charlotte, NC- February 27, 2009— Conterra Telecom Services (Conterra), a national broadband services company specializing in rural areas, has announced the commencement of high-speed wireless wide area network service for the Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education (N.A.T.I.V.E.). The 100 Mbps Ethernet based microwave radio network connects all of the eight member district high schools through 66 of their Career Technical classrooms. A five year contract was awarded to Conterra through the federal E-Rate program which subsidizes a large portion of the District’s costs for the new services.

N.A.T.I.V.E. is a Joint Technological Education District in Arizona working in partnership with eight area high schools: Chinle, Ganado, Pinon, Monument Valley, Red Mesa, Tuba City, Valley, and Window Rock, all located on the Navajo Nation. Its mission is to provide Career Technical Education for all its students. The N.A.T.I.V.E. district spans 22,000 square miles throughout three counties, servicing an average of 4,000 students annually. The average distance between N.A.T.I.V.E. high schools is 101 miles and 78% of student traveled roads to school are unpaved. High quality, high-speed broadband services were virtually non-existent on most parts of the Navajo Nation, but this has now changed.

In the fall of 2008, Conterra teamed with BNI Solutions, a subsidiary of Numerex Corporation, to deploy a high-speed, fiber optic quality wireless broadband network, which provides Internet access and on-demand interactive video conferencing services (H.323 technology) to students, administrators and faculty. Conterra monitors, manages and supports the network on a 24X7X365 basis and guarantees network performance and reliability. These sites now share curriculum, receive college-level courses for students, receive professional career development support, plan team-taught multi-site lessons, and share individual expertise. The Interactive Video Conferencing Distance Learning Network lets students at any location take classes from all over the world. This network is the first of its kind on the Navajo Nation.

“The extreme distances between sites and the isolated rural environment of the Navajo Nation make video conferencing distance learning the only option for providing curriculum equity to our students. Through the vision of the N.A.T.I.V.E. Governing Board, implementation of interactive distance learning across a high speed microwave network reduces the negative impact of isolation, and opens the door to a wide variety of career training opportunities”, said Karen Lesher, Superintendent of the N.A.T.I.V.E. District. “Even though N.A.T.I.V.E. District entered into unchartered areas by building the 100 Mbps WAN across the Navajo Nation, the Conterra Telecom team made the challenge easy. The Conterra solution was flawless and the end WAN product is 100% reliable. Their expertise, perseverance, and experience made what could have remained ‘our vision’ into ‘our reality’. Our students are benefiting today by having otherwise inaccessible college level career programs now available at their sites.”

“ We are extremely gratified to be able to utilize our many years of technology and telecommunications experience to deliver services to students and teachers in parts of the Navajo Nation that might otherwise be unable to access the growing number of ‘distance learning’ opportunities available through the Internet, noted Conterra’s President, Dennis Francis. “This is a great example of the federal E-rate funding program achieving its intended result of bridging America’s digital divide by making sure locations and economics do not stand in the way of equal education opportunities for all American school children,” added Mr. Francis.

The N.A.T.I.V.E. Wide Area Network (WAN) contract is one of four major E-Rate telecommunications projects recently awarded to Conterra. Three similar contracts for Conterra’s high-speed broadband networks have been awarded in rural Texas through the federal E-Rate program. Texas Region 14 ESC became operational last summer and new broadband networks for Region 10 and 15 have been started. When these broadband networks are completed, Conterra will bring high-quality, high-speed Ethernet based broadband and Internet services to 125 Texas school districts at performance levels comparable to those enjoyed by schools in the state’s largest metropolitan areas.

About Conterra Telecom Services
Conterra Telecom Services, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is a national provider of facilities-based broadband services for schools, wireless carriers and select enterprises that require bandwidth intensive, carrier-grade data, video and voice transport services primarily in outer suburban and rural markets. Conterra and its subsidiaries currently provide these services to over 1,000 K-12 schools and colleges throughout the United States, affording broadband services to hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and administrators.

Privately owned, Conterra was established by the founders and members of management of Vanguard Cellular Systems, Inc., which became one of the first and largest independent cellular companies in the United States. Started in 1982, Vanguard designed, built and operated its own point-to-point microwave transport systems to support wireless voice and data traffic within its mostly rural cellular networks throughout the country which are now part of AT&T Mobility. For more information about Conterra, visit www.conterra.com or call: 800-634-1374.

About BNI Solutions
BNI Solutions is a subsidiary of Numerex Corp, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Numerex provides a broad choice of secure machine-to-machine (M2M) network services and solutions. Numerex delivers a depth of expertise and excellence through its service platforms that leading companies choose to power their solutions. Numerex is the first M2M Company in North America to carry ISO 27001 certification — ISO’s highest information security benchmark that ensures data confidentiality, integrity and availability. The Company offers its products and services through a variety of brands and OEM partners, including Uplink, Orbit One, Ublip and BNI Solutions. BNI has an extensive history providing complete broadband system solutions to a wide range of users in the education, government, medical and business communities. For more information on Numerex and BNI Solutions, visit our Web site at: www.numerex.com

“Statements contained in this press release concerning Numerex that are not historical fact are “forward-looking” statements and involve important risks and uncertainties. Such risks and uncertainties, which are detailed in Numerex’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could cause Numerex’s results to differ materially from current expectations as expressed in this press release.”

Rural Texas Students to Receive Federally Backed Broadband Services from Conterra

February 25, 2009; Charlotte, NC– Conterra Telecom Services, a national broadband services company specializing in rural areas, has been awarded a seven year contract to provide high-quality, high-speed wireless wide area network services to the” NetXV Consortium,” a collaborative technology initiative among Texas Region 15 Educational Service Center (ESC-XV) members.

Conterra will deploy a state-of-the-art microwave radio based, Ethernet network covering much of the ESC-15 region and will provide services to replace NetXV Consortium’s current lower bandwidth Video Conferencing and Distance Learning network. Conterra’s wide area broadband network will provide fiber optic quality Internet voice, video and data services to 43 of ESC XV’s member districts. The contract was awarded to Conterra through the federal E-Rate program which subsidizes a large portion of the consortium member’s costs of the new broadband services. The NetXV Consortium membership consists of mostly small, remote school districts that are disbursed across a massive land area of some 25,000 square miles. Ubiquitous high-quality, high-speed broadband services are virtually non-existent across these rural parts of ESC XV; but this is about to change.

Conterra’s intelligent broadband networks support the convergence of integrated data, video and voice services on a single circuit which provides for a single source of telecommunication transport services and performance accountability. The new wide area broadband network will connect the participating consortium members to ESC-XV’s regional offices located in San Angelo. Conterra will monitor, manage and support the network on a 24X7X365 basis and deliver network performance and reliability levels comparable to those in optical fiber networks which are primarily located in major urban areas.

“We are very excited to enter into this agreement between ESC Region XV, Conterra, and our member districts. The services we provide our districts will be greatly impacted”, according to Scot Goen, the ESC’s Executive Director. “Distance learning, video quality, speed, and increased bandwidth in our districts will allow them to explore educational opportunities that have not been available to them in the past. We have several districts in our region implementing one-to-one laptop initiatives and the increased bandwidth through this project will allow many users to access the internet at anytime without the delays they once experienced. This is the direction technology is taking us. With the Wireless Wide Area Network project, we will be able to provide better services to our districts, and they in turn, will be better equipped to prepare their students for the 21st century”, added Mr. Goen.

The Region XV Wide Area Network services contract is one of three major E-Rate subsidized telecommunications projects recently awarded to Conterra in rural Texas. A similar Conterra high-speed broadband network to service Region XIV ESC became operational last summer and a new broadband network for Region X ESC is also currently being deployed. “Through our state-of-the-art broadband networks, Conterra will deliver high-quality, high-speed Ethernet broadband and Internet services to 125 Texas school districts at performance levels comparable to those enjoyed by schools in the state’s largest metropolitan areas,” commented Conterra’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Dennis Francis. “And, thanks to the federal E-rate program, which subsidizes a large portion of essential telecommunication services for underserved school districts, students and teachers in rural Texas will not have to wait on funding from the government’s new Stimulus Package to take advantage of new video-based educational opportunities that are available right now through the Internet,” added Mr. Francis.
About Conterra Telecom Services
Conterra Telecom Services, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is a national provider of facilities-based broadband services for schools, wireless carriers and select enterprises that require bandwidth intensive, carrier-grade data, video and voice transport services primarily in outer suburban and rural markets. Conterra and its subsidiaries currently provide these services to over 1,000 K-12 schools and colleges throughout the United States, affording broadband services to hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and administrators.
Privately owned, Conterra was established by the founders and members of management of Vanguard Cellular Systems, Inc., which became one of the first and largest independent cellular companies in the United States. Started in 1982, Vanguard designed, built and operated its own point-to-point microwave transport systems to support wireless voice and data traffic within its mostly rural cellular networks throughout the country which are now part of AT&T Mobility. For more information about Conterra, visit www.conterra.com or call: 800- 634-1374.

West Texas Students Don’t Need to Wait for New Stimulus Package to Access Subsidized Rural Broadband Services

Bridging the Digital Divide

Charlotte, NC February 24, 2009– Conterra Telecom Services (Conterra) has announced the commencement of high-speed wireless wide area network service to 44 member school districts and colleges of the West Texas Telecommunications Consortium (WTTC) located in the Texas Region 14 Education Service Center (ESC). The 100 Mbps Ethernet based microwave radio network connects member districts and colleges to the main WTTC office located in Abilene. A five year contract was awarded to Conterra through the federal E-Rate program which covers a large portion of the consortium member’s costs.

Conterra’s intelligent broadband networks support the convergence of integrated data, video and voice services on a single circuit that minimizes the number of service providers and provides for a single source of accountability. The Conterra network is now providing Internet access to over 15,000 WTTC endpoints, Internet video conferencing and distance learning service to more than 200 locations and Voice over IP service to members. Conterra monitors, manages and supports the WTTC network on a 24X7X365 basis and guarantees network performance and reliability.

“Conterra has provided the educational community of west central Texas with the most reliable and cost effective voice, video, and data transport infrastructure we could possibly have acquired in this rural part of our state,”

said Mr. Simoneau the Wide Area Network Director for WTTC, in a statement given this week.

“Their solution was the best solution that met the needs of all of the member districts of our consortium and has been a wonderful addition to the strategic plan of the West Texas Telecommunications Consortium. The network has been reliable from day one, the service and support has been prompt and efficient, and the people from Conterra I have worked with have been most helpful since the project began. The WTTC and its members are extremely pleased that the decision was made to partner with Conterra Ultra Broadband in this endeavor.”

The Region 14 ESC wide area network is the first of three major E-Rate telecommunications projects for Conterra in Texas. Conterra is currently deploying Wide Area Networks for the Region 10 and Region 15 ESCs, which will bring high-quality; high-speed Ethernet based broadband and Internet services to 125 Texas school districts at performance levels comparable to those enjoyed by schools in the state’s largest metropolitan areas.

“It is extremely gratifying to be able to utilize our many years of technology and telecommunications experience to deliver services to students and teachers in parts of Texas that might otherwise be unable to access the growing number of ‘distance learning’ opportunities available through the Internet, noted Conterra’s President , Dennis Francis. “This is a great example of the federal E-rate funding program achieving its intended result of making sure locations and economics do not stand in the way of equal education opportunities for all American school children,” added Mr. Francis.

About Conterra Telecom Services
Conterra Telecom Services, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is a national provider of facilities-based broadband services for schools, wireless carriers and select enterprises that require bandwidth intensive, carrier-grade data, video and voice transport services primarily in outer suburban and rural markets. Conterra and its subsidiaries currently provide these services to over 1,000 K-12 schools and colleges throughout the United States, affording broadband services to hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and administrators.

Privately owned, Conterra was established by the founders and members of management of Vanguard Cellular Systems, Inc., which became one of the first and largest independent cellular companies in the United States. Started in 1982, Vanguard designed, built and operated its own point-to-point microwave transport systems to support wireless voice and data traffic within its mostly rural cellular networks throughout the country which are now part of AT&T Mobility. For more information about Conterra, visit www.conterra.com or call: 800-634-1374.

Conterra, WTTC/Region 14 ESC Partner to Provide Telecom Network for Students

Three years ago, the wide area telecom network serving schools in West Texas Telecommunications Consortium/ESC-14 consisted of mostly slow and unreliable T-1 connections. Technical Director Steve Simoneau and the WTTC decided to request proposals in 2006 to upgrade their aging wide area network (WAN). Despite the challenging distances and bandwidth requirements between participating district offices, they got both the response and the price they were looking for.

In 2008, more than 40 school district offices in ESC-14 were connected to a new 100 Mbps per location, microwave radio-based WAN. Now the students in these linked locations can enjoy fiber optic speed Internet, distance learning, video field trips and Voice-over-IP communications in their classrooms. All of this new service capability is largely funded through the federal E-rate program.

Conterra Ultra Broadband, an eligible service provider for Priority 1 E-rate services, submitted the winning bid to provide the WAN service upgrade for the WTTC. Conterra is based in Charlotte, N.C., with an office outside of Dallas, and is the largest provider of licensed microwave radio-based WAN services to schools in the United States. Conterra is also deploying a similar WAN for the Region 10 ESC. Simoneau had this to say about the project: “There is always hesitation and doubt when beginning a new project with this scope and complexity. Questions arise as to whether or not you have made the right decision. After dealing with Conterra for the past three years and working closely with them for the seven months of this project, I can confidently say that the WTTC made the right decision in choosing Conterra Ultra Broadband to help build our new wireless WAN.”

Bedford schools cleared for faster Internet

Published: January 26, 2009
By JUSTIN FAULCONER
BEDFORD — Three Bedford County elementary schools were cleared Monday to each receive Broadband Internet service through wireless communication facilities on each campus.

After holding separate public hearings, the Bedford County Board of Supervisors approved special-use permits for Conterra Ultra Broadband, a North Carolina-based firm working with the county’s public school division to install the facilities. The permits allow the firm to place a 111-foot-tall tower at Boonsboro Elementary School, an 80-foot-tall tower at Huddleston Elementary School and a 76-foot-tall tower at Body Camp Elementary School. The overall goal is to connect the entire school division under the same network, said Jonathan Yates, a representative of the firm.

“What we’re trying to do is get the students of Bedford County equivalent with the rest of the country (in terms of Internet service),” Yates told supervisors.

The county has an 80-foot height requirement for towers but made an exception in the case of Boonsboro Elementary School. Yates stated in the firm’s application the height was necessary to reach the needed signal. Conterra has networks in 16 states and serves eight Virginia counties, Yates said. The firm has nearly 100 networks in place, he said. Edward Hoisington, the school divison’s director of technology and media, said the towers would improve the three schools’ Internet speed from 1.5 megabytes per second to 100 per second. Hoisington said they also allow the schools
to keep pace with others in the area of online testing.

The schools’ initiative comes at a time when county officials are also exploring options to expand broadband service. Currently the county is in an “information-gathering stage,” said Assistant County Administrator Frank Rogers. The area’s topography and landscape presents challenges in extending service.

“There’s a large area of the county that is without sufficient high-speed Internet connectivity to meet a lot of the demands of citizens and the growing needs of business,”

said Rogers. However, since some of the coverage area is not densely populated, he said, capital infrastructure costs would be harder for the county to recoup. “We’re trying to devise a way to facilitate the provision of service in that environment.” Broadband has tremendous potential to enable “good sound business growth,” which is why he said the county economic development authority is taking part in the research. The authority recently formed a subcommittee to review the county’s options and likely give the authority recommendations on what options to pursue. An alternative, Rogers said, is consideration of the formation of a wireless broadband authority.

Several counties like King George and Pulaski have such authorities, which may be eligible for tobacco commission grants and other grant money. The county, in response to a proposed federal economic stimulus package that is still under debate, also recently submitted an $8 million project estimate called the “Last Mile Broadband Initiative” to the state. John Sharp, the board’s chairman, said he spoke recently with Rep. Tom Perriello, D-5th District, about the stimulus package and came away with the understanding that it will address rural broadband initiatives.
“Hopefully we’ll see something from that,” Sharp said.

In other business: The board approved, with Supervisor Dale Wheeler absent, a change within its payment method for appointed members of boards and commissions. Under the new policy, any serving member of the county’s handful of appointed bodies would get issued W-2 tax forms and be considered employees rather than receiving 1099 forms that recognize them as independent contractors. The method also pays those serving a fixed monthly income rather than receiving reimbursement based on meeting attendance. County Administrator Kathleen Guzi said the boards have 90 percent attendance or higher and do work aside from attending meetings. Appointed officials will now have taxes taken from their pay under the new policy, which is why Guzi recommended the monthly reimbursement. “This would help to offset the decrease in payments due to taxes,” she said in a county memo. The IRS advised the change.