Copper Valley Telecom, a regional telecoms operator serving customers within a 15,000 square mile region of south-central Alaska, has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Verizon Wireless to participate in the mobile giant’s ‘Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Rural America’ programme. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, through the initiative, Verizon plans to lease pockets of its 700MHz spectrum to rural carriers so that they can roll out 4G networks of their own, over which Verizon will have roaming rights. Copper Valley Telecom CEO Dave Dengel commented: ‘We are enthusiastic to start work on our 4G LTE deployment. Many of our customers and visitors use smartphones and data cards to stream movies, listen to music, play games, even run businesses. 4G LTE service will provide greater capacity and speeds for these types of applications. Initially, we will upgrade towers in Valdez, Cordova, Tatitlek, and Prince William Sound to 4G LTE. These towers will be operational by the fall of 2013’. Copper Valley Telecom is believed to be the 18th regional operator to ink an agreement with Verizon; Oklahoma’s Pioneer Cellular and Wisconsin-based Cellcom became the first partners to launch LTE commercially when they switched on their respective 4G networks in late-April this year.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Alaska is the only US state not yet covered by Verizon’s LTE network. In August 2010 Verizon filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to acquire the Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable 700MHz C Block spectrum licence covering Alaska from Triad, a designated entity that purchased the licence during the FCC’s 700MHz 2008 spectrum auction. Triad originally paid around USD1.8 million for the concession.