NetAmerica launches LTE pilot network for rural operators

The NetAmerica Alliance, which emerged earlier this year as a way to give rural operators the economies of scale they need along with significant reductions in capital expenditures as they roll out new LTE networks, announced it has gone live with an LTE pilot network.

NetAmerica members are using the pilot network to develop, test and refine operating methodologies prior to turn-up of commercial service. Pilot users have experienced downlink data speeds of up to 28 Mbps and uplink data speeds of up to 13 Mbps, and alliance said. Initially, users are incorporating PC dongles to test high-speed mobility throughout the network with the ability later to also trial a customer premise device in their home or business. The results of the pilot and lessons learned are being shared with all NetAmerica members. The location of the pilot wasn't announced.

The alliance has teamed with independent 700 MHz and AWS spectrum license holders that agree to build out their regions using LTE as part of a consortium. NetAmerica wants to give member rural network operators improved buying power, nationwide branding, 24/7 network monitoring, 4G core network elements and other services. It made a deal with Ericsson in March that calls for the world's largest vendor to offer LTE radio functionality, evolved packet core, IP multimedia subsystem and a family of LTE-centric home and small business gateways for its members.

NetAmerica offers a number of services for rural operators, including business-case evaluation, a propagation plan, a full capital build-out plan and assumptions for how operators can build out their licenses.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
Despite challenges, LTE catching fire among rural U.S. carriers
NetAmerica expands rural LTE footprint with new members
Ericsson, NetAmerica aim to create economies of scale for rural LTE networks

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