CenturyTel to target rural broadband customers with LTE

CenturyTel announced its decision to deploy LTE to deliver high-speed access to its rural customers. The company, which is merging with Embarq, plans to roll out the next-generation technology some time next year in limited areas, CEO Glen Post announced during CenturyTel's quarterly results conference call.

"It would be 2010 before there would be any significant dollars" spent on an LTE rollout," he said. "And even then we'll roll out a few markets and then we'll enter (other markets) on a selective basis as we prove success of the technology roll-out."

The decision is unique in that LTE will be used for fixed broadband access. Much of the LTE talk has been about broadband mobility, while many rural operators are using WiMAX for fixed deployments. However, CenturyTel Broadband Wireless won significant portions of spectrum in the 700 MHz auction, and other major winners of 700 MHz spectrum, such as AT&T and Verizon, are deploying LTE. CenturyTel owns enough spectrum to cover 53 percent of its service area, Post said. "We have a plan to try to increase that. We're looking at possible ways to carve out spectrum or work with other carriers to gain access to spectrum because we do think it is a very efficient way to provide broadband access in rural areas," he said.

For more:
- see TelecomWeb

Related articles:
CenturyTel to enhance footprint via 700 Mhz
Dissecting the CenturyTel-Embarq deal
More Embarq/CenturyTel details emerge