Archive for 2012

Bridging the Digital Divide with Rural Broadband Access

If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably connected to the Internet upwards of 90% of the time you’re awake. You check your email on your phone before you even get out of bed — and your morning newspaper conveniently fits inside a tablet less than 10 inches tall. Chances are you haven’t had a landline in several years, either.

And you wouldn’t be alonebut just how common is this?

Of course major metropolitan areas such as Boston, New York and L.A. have vast broadband networks — but what about more rural areas? Are all Americans plugged in?

Digitally Divided

In today’s rapidly expanding technological society, many individuals are left out of the loop in the phenomenon known as the Digital Divide. This schism divides the world into haves and have-nots, or those with access to technology and those without. As the Internet and computer use begin to significantly infiltrate means of employment and commerce, those without access or the ability to use the technology effectively struggle in a modern world.

Conquering this Digital Divide is a major technical initiative of the U.S. government. By extending the reach of Internet accessibility to rural areas, the societies and school districts are strengthened and individuals are better prepared in a modern job market with an increased focus on technology.

E-Rate Program

The government E-Rate program offers financial assistance for telecommunications services to underserved school districts. They partner with industry leading broadband providers to bring high-quality Internet access to rural areas that major networks often overlook. The E-Rate program grants qualified school districts a discount of services from 20% — 90% depending on the location and the percent of students who qualify for free lunch programs.

Choosing a broadband service provider qualified for the government E-Rate program can be tricky. Search for providers dedicated to serving rural areas of America, and qualify as Priority One E-Rate Eligible Telecommunications Providers (ETP) as defined by the Federal Communications Commission and the Schools and Libraries Division of USAC. A leader in the K-12 broadband space is Conterra, an organization that has NEVER been denied E-Rate funding.

Extending your Reach

The concept of a Digital Divide does not only relate to school districts — it also deals with public and business Internet connections, as well. The same rural areas that qualify for the E-Rate program more-than-likely have subpar Internet connection for their everyday and professional usage. It’s important to align with a company that offers a variety of broadband services and solutions to fit any need.

By improving access to all underserved areas, the Digital Divide between individuals with computer knowledge/understanding and those without will decrease, giving the country and its citizens a leg-up in a growing global economy. Don’t let your rural location restrict your technological reach.

Telecom Review North America: Bandwidth in Underserved America

Bandwidth in Underserved America

There are always carriers that find and excel at their niche in the service provider market, and Conterra is certainly one of those carriers! Conterra Broadband Services (“Conterra”) designs, builds and operates carrier-class, high-capacity broadband networks for wireless backhaul, K-12 schools and other government/healthcare entities across rural America. Privately owned, the Company was established in 1996 by the founders and executives of Vanguard Cellular Systems, Inc., which became one of the first and largest independent cellular companies in the United States.

Telecom Review recently met with Dennis Francis, President, Chief Operating & Technology Officer for Conterra to give our readers a feel for rural development. Dennis has been with Conterra since 2005. He has 32 years of experience as an engineer, senior technical manager and operating manager in major telecom corporations that include Southwestern Bell, Ericsson, Nortel, Vanguard Cellular Systems, AT&T Wireless, US Wireless and Nextel.

Conterra specializes in bringing high quality optical and radiobased networking solutions to areas where it is technologically and economically challenging by offering a ubiquitous, high speed, IP-based network from a single network provider. Their solutions integrate fiber with FCC Licensed Common Carrier Microwave links to create a network designed to meet their clients’ needs.

Conterra currently operates in 25 states and provides wide area networking (WAN) services to over 275 school districts, and hundreds of cell towers, with total sites in service approaching
2,000. They operate redundant NOCs to monitor locations across the country. Mobile Backhaul Conterra builds both fiber and microwave to the rural mobile towers for providing backhaul.

Conterra’s design approach builds upon the networks in place to connect “fiber islands” and augmenting coverage with additional fiber builds or scalable FCC-licensed microwave. Rural markets contain less fiber density (“fiber islands” from small carriers), greater tower distances and higher transport costs. Their unique design approach eliminates the stress points in the rural network to provide fiber-quality service outside the core fiber footprint at the best price. Dennis noted that, some rural fiber is so “rural that it may cost upwards of 50,000
dollars per mile to build”. By integrating fiber and microwave technologies, they provide high quality, cost-effective coverage of hard to reach rural and underserved areas. Conterra
brings to the planning table a rural design experience that can positively impact network costs from 25 to 40 percent.

High Speed WANS for Education

Conterra has been providing high-speed, broadband services to rural and underserved areas of America for nearly a decade. They specialize in bringing unique solutions to complex telecommunications projects in geographical areas where it is technologically and economically challenging to deliver fiber optic networks. They integrate new or existing fiber with FCC Licensed Common Carrier Microwave links to provide ubiquitous wide area broadband services.

Conterra is a national provider of broadband services for K-12 consortia, school districts, and libraries that require bandwidth intensive, carriergrade data, video and voice
transport services. Conterra and its subsidiaries currently provide these services to over 1,100 locations throughout the United States, affording broadband services to more than one million students, teachers, administrators and others.

Telehealth

Conterra is also helping to install distance learning networks in rural areas. As an example a doctor in rural New Mexico may need to get second opinions on x-rays and things of that nature. With this network they can send the x-ray for second opinions. “It can be a typical network except for the end users on that network”, Dennis noted. Some of the Telehealth services provided by Conterra are supported through the Rural Health Care Pilot Program initiated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to facilitate the creation of a national broadband network dedicated to health care, connecting public and private non-profit health care providers in rural and urban locations. One new example is the new Utah Telehealth network. They built one tower on a sacred Indian mountain so they hauled in the construction materials by ATV. It was so remote they needed solar arrays for power, and had to haul in 80 bags of concrete. They had to be very careful to respect the heritage of the land and worked closely with the BLM in that regard.

Growth

“Half of our staff has been with us for 15-20 years”, Dennis noted. This depth of experience is a testament to the hard work needed to complete the network projects, and has served
Conterra well. “We think there is great demand for the Telehealth market and our education market continues to grow so we will continue to grow Conterra in a responsible manner”, Dennis
concluded.

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Conterra Broadband Services Joins Allied Fiber’s Dark Fiber Community

August 22, 2012 – Charlotte, NC – Conterra Broadband Services (“Conterra”), a national provider of high capacity, wide area network services specializing in underserved areas of the U.S., announces today that it has joined Allied Fiber’s Dark Fiber Community. With more than 140 members, the Dark Fiber Community serves as a networking and educational center for those in the optical fiber networking industry. The community allows for easy exchange of information between industry leaders who are interested in eliminating obstacles for broadband access and in building new infrastructure for cutting-edge fiber optic networks.

“We see the Dark Fiber Community as a place for Conterra to share its successes in serving underserved areas of America,” said Dennis Francis, President and COO of Conterra. “While access to fiber-based services may be readily available in large, metropolitan cities, there are still many locations throughout the U.S. that do not have access to the adequate bandwidth required to successfully compete in today’s digital economy. Conterra’s hybrid, broadband services bridge this digital divide and make a meaningful difference in the communities in which we serve,” concluded Francis. “We are pleased to welcome Conterra to the Dark Fiber Community,” said Hunter Newby, CEO of Allied Fiber. “Their experience and expertise at providing fiber-quality services throughout rural America will expand the community’s knowledge base, and their participation in this forum will be an asset to our members,” concluded Newby.

For more information on the Dark Fiber Community, visit http://dark-fiber.tmcnet.com.

About Conterra Broadband Services
Conterra Broadband Services, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is a national provider of facilities-based broadband services for K-12, healthcare and government entities, wireless and wireline carriers, and select enterprises that require bandwidth intensive, carrier-grade data, video and voice transport services primarily in underserved areas throughout America. Conterra and its subsidiaries currently operate in 25 states and provide wide area networking services to over 275 school districts and hundreds of cell towers, with total sites in service approaching 2,000. For more information about Conterra, visit www.conterra.com or call 877-365-6701. For Conterra Broadband Services media inquiries, please contact:
Maura Mahoney
mmahoney@conterra.com
Tel: +1.617.571.1927

About Allied Fiber
Allied Fiber owns, builds and will operate its own network-neutral, fiber optic cable system, connecting sub-sea landing points, cell towers, data centers, carrier hotels, colocation huts, enterprise buildings, schools and governments with next generation, long-haul and short-haul dark fiber. This necessary dark fiber network, planned to unite along its route the continental United States, is created to address America’s need for more broadband access, wireless backhaul, data center distribution and lower latency communications services. Allied Fiber is employing the most advanced fiber optic cables in its multi- duct dark fiber system to meet the ever increasing bandwidth demands for wireless, Video over IP and other advanced technologies thus enabling the development of the Global Broadband Economy for the United States. For more information, please visit www.alliedfiber.com.
For Allied Fiber media inquiries, please contact:
Jaymie Scotto & Associates
pr@jaymiescotto.com
Tel: +1.866.695.3629

Conterra Broadband Services’ Comprehensive Network Solution Enables Pennsylvania’s Red Lion Area School District to Roar

New fiber-based WAN enables district to implement high-tech initiatives

August 14, 2012 – Charlotte, NC – Conterra Broadband Services (“Conterra”), a national provider of high capacity, wide area network services specializing in underserved areas, has announced the completion of a high speed, fiber-based, broadband network for the Red Lion Area School District. Located in Southern York County Pennsylvania, the Red Lion Area School District is comprised of 7 elementary schools, a junior high and a comprehensive high school. Leveraging the power of educational technology, Red Lion has implemented a “Bring Your Own Technology” policy, which enables students to bring their personal computing and communications devices to school. This initiative created extraordinary peak-hour demand for bandwidth and Internet access during the school day.

When the resulting need for a comprehensive, cost effective network solution was identified, the Red Lion Area School District conducted an RFP process and selected Conterra to provide its wide area network services. Conterra already provided microwave links to a few of the schools, so the school district was confident that Conterra could deliver the reliable, scalable connectivity it required. “This newly built, fiber-based network brings technology and physical plant to a previously underserved area,” said Dennis Francis, President and Chief Operating Officer of Conterra Broadband Services. “Conterra’s solution offers the district a ubiquitous, broadband network that opens up new opportunities to leverage technology to transform education,” concluded Francis.
The Red Lion Area School District is already seeing benefits from this hybrid network, which incorporates the best attributes of microwave and fiber technology. The network has dramatically
increased the amount of bandwidth available to support applications such as distance learning, social media, web 2.0 and cloud-based solutions and is a platform that can support current and future security needs as well. According to Jared Mader, Director of Technology Services for the Red Lion Area School District, “with Conterra’s network, the bandwidth on the WAN will no longer be the limiting factor for performance.”

About Conterra Broadband Services

Conterra Broadband Services, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is a national provider of facilities-based broadband services for K-12, healthcare and government entities, wireless and wireline carriers, and select enterprises that require bandwidth intensive, carrier-grade data, video and voice transport services primarily in underserved areas throughout America. Conterra and its subsidiaries currently provide these services to over 1,000 K-12 schools, colleges, government and commercial sites throughout the United States, serving over one million students,
teachers and administrators. For more information about Conterra, visit www.conterra.com or call 877-365-6701.

Conterra Broadband Services Goes Live with Centina Systems

Leading Mobile Ethernet Backhaul Provider Leverages NetOmniaM to Deliver Superior Improved Customer Experience and Improved Network Performance

PLANO, Texas–(BUS NESS W RE)–Centina Systems, a leading provider of service assur management solutions for communications service providers worldwide, announced today NetOmnia™ solution for Conterra Broadband Services. Conterra Broadband Services (“Conterra”) is the nation’s only hybrid alternative access provider focused on serving wireless and wireline carriers, schools, healthcare organizations and enterprises in underserved parts of America. Conterra provides wireless backhaul for the country’s largest carriers to some of the most challenging tower sites in the country.

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