Friday, February 20, 2009

Rural Broadband: No Job Creation Machine

Original Article - New York Times

In a bracing refresher course on why they call economics the dismal science, a gathering of academics Thursday poured cold water on the idea that the new stimulus plan will create lots of jobs and improve the lives of many by wiring rural areas for broadband Internet service.

The gathering was a seminar in Washington sponsored by the business schools of Columbia and Georgetown to assesse the impact of the broadband stimulus.

The upshot was that most of the economists said the ability of broadband to spur economic development in rural areas is difficult to quantify.

“Everyone talks about the jobs that are going to be created by this,” said Scott Wallsten, a senior fellow at the Technology Policy Institute. “There is no way to measure that.” One problem, he said, is there’s no way to tell which of these jobs would have been created even without the stimulus bill.

Raul Katz, a Columbia Business School professor, admitted the difficulty in counting jobs, but he nonetheless presented a paper that tried to quantify the effect of the broadband stimulus program on employment.

“We know construction will generate jobs,” Mr. Katz said. By his count, the stimulus bill will create 128, 000 jobs designing, building and administering the broadband networks. That figure also includes a multiplier effect that assumes that every 10 people directly hired by these projects will spend enough money to create 8 more jobs in other sectors.

Beyond the construction, things get more than a little fuzzy. There is some research that shows that spending on networks will create new applications — be it “telemedicine” or e-commerce — that will spur more employment. Over the next four years, Mr. Katz allocates 378,000 jobs to these sources.

But he also has his doubts. It’s not at all clear that the people who are going to be wired by the program are going to be as quick to exploit the full potential of broadband networks as the early adopters who were the subjects the earlier studies of innovation and job growth.

Then there is the John Henry Effect (my term refering to the railroad-building legend who raced against a steam hammer). Technology that helps fewer people get more work done may be good for the economy in the long run, but it makes extra workers redundant. Mr. Katz says bringing broadband to rural areas will eliminate 266,000 jobs.

The biggest question mark, in Mr. Katz’s analysis, is how zippy Internet lines connect the farmers and their families into the global economy where jobs are increasingly outsourced to wherever they can be performed cheapest. Some people may benefit by working for companies like Jet Blue, that hire people to work answering the telephone in their homes. On the other hand, when the general store has broadband, it can send its tax returns to India rather than hiring the corner C.P.A. Mr. Katz published several scenarios that range from a loss of 110,000 jobs to the creation of 164,000 jobs.

So what does this all mean? Mr. Katz adds all these factors up and says that the stimulus bill might lead to 273,000 jobs created in the rural economy (separate from the construction impact). Then again it might well reduce employment by 1,000 jobs. Trying to be safe, he says the most likely scenario lies in between, at creating 136,000 jobs.

Even Mr.Katz’s wide range of assumptions was challenged by other speakers. Robert D. Atkinson, the president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, said the study undercounted the number of jobs created because the job losses from increased productivity take years to occur.

Dave Burstein, the editor of DSL Prime, a newsletter on the business of broadband, argued that broadband, especially the high speed sort, is still spreading rapidly in the country and there is little evidence that the couple of million extra homes that might be wired up by the program will change the structure of the economy.

“Most of the network effects are a crock,” Mr. Burstein said.

Despite the many numbers he published, Mr. Katz emphasized that the government should spend in job training and economic development programs that will encourage people in the areas being wired to take advantage of the new connectivity.

Skepticism arises over rural broadband stimulus

Original Article - International Herald Tribune

WASHINGTON: With the first concerted federal program to subsidize high-speed Internet services in rural areas, the new economic stimulus package will create some jobs and could get hundreds of thousands of households online.

Yet there's some question whether the economy would be more energized by spending that money on other things.

Because Internet access is already widespread and still being expanded even in a shrinking economy, injecting more money for broadband could simply equate to giving more coffee to someone who's already downed three cups.

"From the rural Vermont that we see, broadband is happening, happening fast," said Michel Guite, president of Vermont Telephone Co., which is based in Springfield.

The company, which serves 21,000 lines, is able to borrow from commercial lenders when it needs to invest in expanding Internet services, Guite said Thursday at a conference organized by the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information.

Although he wouldn't decline cheaper loans from the government, Guite said Congress could help his company better by cutting red tape, particularly when it comes to freeing up spectrum for wireless services.

The stimulus bill provides $7.2 billion for grants, loans and loan guarantees, primarily for areas that lack broadband or are "underserved," though the term is not defined. Some of that money is set aside to expand Internet access at public centers like community colleges and public libraries.

One reason the money won't likely have much impact is its small size: less than 1 percent of the overall stimulus package, and substantially less per citizen than some countries, like Ireland and Sweden, have spent on improving their networks.

The Obama administration is looking at creating a more comprehensive plan to get the whole country covered by broadband, technology adviser Alec Ross told The Washington Post this week, but it's not yet clear if that would mean more subsidies.

A possible point of comparison is phone service for rural areas, which has long been subsidized through a program that has critics, too. A study by Robert Crandall of the Brookings Institution said that the program produces customer savings of about $2 per month for $20 in monthly subsidies. But he conceded that when phone service was being built out, subsidies may have helped.

Larry Sarjeant, vice president of legislative affairs at Qwest Communications International Inc., said the Denver-based phone company could use $3 billion to expand Internet access to 2 million households and small businesses in 14 Western states, many of them thinly populated.

Because Qwest is unlikely to get that large a share of the funds, and the number of households that sign up for service will be smaller still, the net effect would be at most a few hundred thousand new Internet subscribers. Qwest added 236,000 broadband subscribers on its own last year.

In 2007 and 2008, the Pew Internet and American Life Project asked households that lacked broadband why they haven't signed up. Lack of availability was ranked fourth, given by 14 percent. Most answered that they didn't need the Internet, that it was too expensive or too hard to use. Many people who don't use the Internet simply don't have computers.

About 95 percent of households can already get broadband, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. But the industry hasn't been very forthcoming in saying exactly where it's available, and that's part of what the stimulus package wants to address — it has allocated $350 million to mapping U.S. broadband access.

There are signs that the money will do at least some good to rural areas.

A study of 3,000 people in Michigan, Texas and Kentucky found those in areas that received broadband Internet grants from the federal Rural Utilities Service quickly signed up for service, matching the penetration rates in cities. That happened where network investment was coupled with community programs aimed at convincing people about the benefits of Internet access.

Home broadband users were more likely to start businesses or take classes online, and less likely to move away, the researchers at Michigan State University found.

Those positive effects are hard to value.

Raul Katz, a Columbia Business School professor, estimates that the broadband plan will create 128,000 jobs over four years, because it will put installers and equipment makers to work, and those people will then spend the money they make. He's much less certain how many jobs the Internet access itself will create. It could be as many as 273,000 or closer to zero.

Spending the money on traditional infrastructure projects would create slightly more direct jobs: 152,000, according to Katz. That's because more of the money would stay in the United States, as most telecom equipment is assembled in Asia.

Robert Atkinson, president of Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, believes it's unfair to hold broadband part of the stimulus plan to a higher standard than other investments.

"We know for sure that it will create jobs," he said. Everyone is going to have Internet access at some point, and the stimulus is "an amazing opportunity" to get five or 10 years ahead on that, he added.

So who benefits on the company side? Qwest chief executive Ed Mueller told investors and analysts last week that there would be "some upside" for the company in the stimulus, but that $7 billion would be spread pretty thin over the country.

Blair Levin, managing director and analyst at brokerage Stifel Nicolaus, believes smaller phone companies will benefit more than larger, but the money won't make a major difference.

"I don't think it will affect the competitive dynamic much," he said.

How Will the $7.2 Billion Allotted for Broadband Stimulus Be Spent?

Original Artical - PC World
Though a number of details are vague, many people in tech and telecom circles hope that the $7.2 billion allotment for broadband in the newly enacted federal economic stimulus package marks the beginning of a nationwide broadband strategy.

In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, recently enacted by Congress, many details regarding the allocation of funds for high-tech projects remain blurry. Nevertheless, the nation's tech community appears to be encouraged by the $7.2 billion provision for broadband in the near $789 billion economic stimulus package signed into law by President Barack Obama earlier this week. Many observers believe that the allocation is a clear first step toward establishing a nationwide broadband strategy.

Officially known as "Title VI--Broadband Technology Opportunities Program," the $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus money accounts for less than 1 percent (and only five pages) of the entire package. Its purpose is to spur broadband growth in underserved areas of the country.
What the Law Says

The bureaucracy to allocate the money has not been set up yet, and no one can be absolutely sure exactly how the broadband program will work. Still some definite elements have emerged.

First, two entities will issue grants under Title VI: the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service. Tech companies, telecommunications service providers, and other ISPs large and small will compete for the grant money through a bidding process managed by the two organizations.

But confusion exists even on this point. "There's no clear way to know which government entity they should apply to," says Derek Turner, research director of Free Press, a Washington media-reform think tank.
Urban vs. Rural Broadband

The debate has begun in earnest over how much of the money should go to developing and extending rural broadband service and how much to improving quality and choice in existing urban broadband service. The division of the $7.2 billion between the two agencies provides some clue: The NTIA will be responsible for about $4.7 billion of the money, while USDA will dispense about $2.5 billion of it.

Language in the new law explicitly mentions expanding broadband to rural areas: "The purposes of the program are to (1) provide access to broadband service to consumers residing in underserved areas of the United States; (2) provide improved access to broadband service to consumers residing in underserved areas of the United States."

The law does not define any of those terms, however, nor does it identify the mechanism for issuing funds. Rather, it simply states that "the grant program [will be created] as expeditiously as practicable" and that "if approved, provide the greatest broadband speed possible to the greatest population of users in the area."

The USDA has been operating a Rural Utilities Service since 2002 to help small towns obtain broadband access; but the program, operating with a much smaller budget than the one it will administer under the stimulus act, has achieved only limited success.

We also know something about the timing of the allocations. The new bill states that "all awards are [to be] made before the end of fiscal year 2010."
Many Unknowns in Allocation Plan

While the Obama Administration would like to dole out this money as quickly as possible, many industry experts say that several months--and perhaps a year or more--will pass before any tangible services are up and running. Furthermore, many of the program's details have yet to be determined.

According to Bart Forbes, spokesperson for the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), the White House's technology policy arm, and one of main distributors of the new infusion of broadband money, no bureaucratic process is in place yet to move the funds to their needed destinations. "There's no procedure; there's no staff; there's no program," Forbes says. "The key players have not been put into place."

Forbes adds that the NTIA has no permanent head at the moment--and hasn't had one since November 2007. Moreover, the Department of Commerce, of which the NTIA is a component agency, has no secretary either.

Despite these ambiguities, many industry analysts seem hopeful about the broadband initiative's prospects for success. "There's lots of potential for waste, fraud, and abuse [in the new law], but our country is in trouble right now," Turner says. "I'm cautiously optimistic."

How Will It Work?

Once the NTIA and the USDA create a system for distributing stimulus grants, they will work with the various states to outline the states' needs. The resulting proposals could come in the form of wired or wireless projects--the language of the law doesn't specify any particular speed or technology.

Meanwhile, tech companies, nonprofits, and ISPs will submit grant proposals and the Washington, D.C., entities will broker the final arrangements for funding approved proposals.

Each grant must adhere to principles of openness, including generally recognized provisions of Net neutrality, which require an "open access basis."

To counter potential fraud and waste, the law also mandates a "fully searchable database, accessible on the Internet at no cost to the public, that contains at least a list of each entity that has applied for a grant under this section, a description of each application, the status of each such application, the name of each entity receiving funds made available pursuant to this section, the purpose for which such entity is receiving such funds, each quarterly report submitted by the entity pursuant to this section, and such other information sufficient to allow the public to understand and monitor grants awarded under the program."
Will It Ceate Jobs?

Industry watchers say that the new law is crucial if some 20 million Americans are to obtain the broadband Internet access they need.

Craig Settles, president of and a longtime telecom industry observer, notes that public discussion of the broadband provision and of the larger stimulus package tends to focus on their similarity to New Deal-era public spending on infrastructure projects; but he says that the parallel is inexact.

"Broadband is as vital as roads and highways, but it isn't as much in the building of the infrastructure as in the job creation that comes out of the more physical, like dams and roads and so forth--those old-school infrastructure projects generate a lot of work," Settles says. "Where you're going to have the greatest impact [with the new projects] is after the network is done. It will draw new businesses to the communities; it will enable the businesses that are there to expand their markets."
What's Next?

In coming weeks, the person appointed as Secretary of Commerce by President Obama will appoint an assistant secretary--and that person will bear primary responsibility for overseeing execution of the provisions of Title VI.

"Over the next 60 days, the Department of Commerce and Department of Agriculture are going to write the [Request for Proposal] that puts the teeth into this bill, and the stipulations that the money gets appropriated to where it's needed and that it's open so it's not just the incumbents that are sucking up the money," Settles says.

Many other industry observers--including Harold Feld, a telecommunications consultant--say that the Obama Administration's attention to broadband indicates its commitment to making technology policy a high priority.

"So far, the Obama people who are going to be running this have shown that they have a drive and an appreciation for what broadband can do to transform people's lives," Feld says. "[Obama] has made a relatively minor part of the stimulus bill something that he talks about in every one of his speeches."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Should the Data in Broadband Maps Be Transparent and Public?

Original Article -

WASHINGTON, February 18, 2009 - Art Brodsky, communications director at Public Knowledge, has just posted a new piece about Connected Nation. In it, he writes:

The new stimulus package just signed by President Obama has $350 million in it for broadband mapping, yet even before the bill was signed, the danger warnings for this program are glaringly obvious: Who will control the information on broadband deployment? If the program is done correctly, then the program may bring some benefits to the effort to include all Americans in the digital economy. If not, much of the money will be wasted.

Increasingly, it is beginning to look as if the program will be done at the mercy of the big telecommunications companies, who will seek to submit the information they want to submit, on the terms and conditions on which they want to submit it.

State governments, working months before the stimulus package was conceived, are ramping up their own programs to map deployment of broadband, and are finding they are already increasingly running into conflicts over the type of data they will receive. Some states want comprehensive, granular data. However, they are finding that the telecommunications industry, often represented by Connected Nation (CN), doesn’t want to give it to them. The result is a clash of policy objectives and politics that’s taking place across the country, in states ranging from North Carolina to Alabama, Colorado and Minnesota. Connected Nation’s board of directors is dominated by representatives of large telecom carriers, as CN positions itself as the best choice for states and the Federal government to spend millions of stimulus dollars on broadband mapping.

For more than a year, has been building an alternative to the proprietary-information model of Connected Nation.

I founded in January 2008 because I believe that data about local broadband speeds, prices, availability, reliability and competition should be publicly available. For more than a year, we have been collecting information from everyday citizens, through a process of “crowdsourcing” about their individual broadband connections. Individuals visiting are invited to Take the Broadband Census by answering a simple seven-question survey about their location, who provides them with broadband, their promised speed, and their level of satisfaction.

After Taking the Broadband Census, individuals may test their speed. We use the open source Network Diagnostic Tool of Internet2 to test their upload and download speeds, and the results are then publicly displayed and available for all, under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License.

Our biggest challenge to take has been to get the word out to more and more people, about the existence of, and about the need for more people to get involved in broadband mapping.

Last week, he had a breakthrough in receiving coverage from The New York Times, and in a guest Op-Ed that I wrote for ArsTechnica.

We have also begun to roll out our Broadband Wiki, which is designed to aggregate data about the state of broadband across the nation — by state, by county, by city and by ZIP code.

I.B.M. Delivers Rural Broadband Over Power Lines

Original Article - New York Times

With $7 billion of government money on the line, it’s no surprise that all kinds of companies are claiming they can wire the most isolated ranchers and cave dwellers with broadband Internet service.

On Thursday, I.B.M. piped up to say that it is working with rural electric cooperatives to offer high-speed Internet service, delivered over electric power lines.

Technology to send broadband over power lines has been around for several years, but it typically hasn’t been able to offer enough capacity at a low enough price to beat service from cable and phone companies.

But with government subsidies, the approach is starting to be deployed in areas that don’t have access to other forms of broadband.

IBM Global Services is actually a contractor working for International Broadband Electric Communications, a Huntsville, Ala., company that has developed both the technology and service model to make the system work, at least in rural areas without other broadband offerings. The companies began deploying Internet service last year with one rural cooperative in Alabama , and this week announced an expansion to include five more cooperatives in Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia.

There appears to be pent-up demand in these areas. One Michigan cooperative signed up 5,000 customers in the first two weeks, said Raymond Blair, the director of advanced networks for I.B.M.

These deployments have been subsidized by low-interest loans from the Rural Development Program of the Department of Agriculture, which is going to get a big chunk of new money for loans and grants from the stimulus bill that was just signed.

To deploy a broadband system, a power company needs to run an Internet connection over fiber to each electrical substation. Then it can simply install one amplifier per mile of power line. Another device sends the signal the final stretch to subscribers’ homes. To use the service, consumers can plug the modem into any outlet. With the amplifiers, the signal can be sent 25 miles from a substation, far longer than DSL service over phone wires.

Mr. Blair said this technology has been cost-effective in areas that have five to fifteen people living near each mile of line. The government grants might even encourage power companies to install it in even more sparsely populated areas.

Wireless service, of course, is another option for rural areas, but Mr. Blair said that delivery over power lines could be especially good for hilly terrain that blocks wireless signals.

The service, as offered by I.B.E.C. is certainly not something you’d want if you can get broadband another way. The company charges $29.95 a month for service at 256 kilobits per second and $49.95 for 1 megabit per second. Those are far slower speeds that cable and phone companies offer at those prices.

“The Internet at 256 kilobits may not sound like a lot, but that’s literally 10 times what people are getting today,” Mr. Blair said. “If you remember what it was like to be on dial-up, it’s totally inadequate for the nature of the Internet in this world.”

MSU study finds widening range of broadband benefits rural areas

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The stimulus package signed into law this week by President Obama calls for a $7 billion upgrade of broadband services to the nation’s rural areas, something that, according to a Michigan State University professor, will spur education and economic opportunities in those areas.

Robert LaRose is a professor of telecommunication, information studies and media. He also is co-author of a study looking at high-speed Internet use in rural areas. Courtesy photo.
A recently released study by Robert LaRose, professor of telecommunications, information studies and media, and two colleagues found that when offered high-speed Internet, those living in rural communities tended to take advantage.

According to the research, “high-speed access through public schools and libraries increased dramatically,” LaRose said. “Home broadband users were more likely than others to plan to take continuing education courses or start new businesses online.”

“As America attempts to dig itself out of an economic slump and retool its work force, broadband Internet connections have an important role to play since access to online courses is a leading reason to have high-speed Internet access,” said Sharon Strover, a University of Texas researcher who collaborated on the project.

The research project surveyed more than 3,000 people living in rural areas of Michigan, Texas and Kentucky. The Michigan site was Huron County, where high-speed Internet access in the home has more than doubled during the years of the study.

The study traced the adoption of high-speed Internet connections between 2005 and 2008 in the four communities that received broadband Internet grants from the federal Rural Utilities Service.

“What we found,” LaRose said, “was that the adoption of broadband Internet connections increased in three of the four communities, overcoming the unfavorable demography of rural communities that critics of broadband development claim explains the urban-rural broadband gap.”

However, the digital divide closed and rural broadband penetration matched that of urban residents only where the infrastructure grants were coupled with community-based efforts to promote the effective use of broadband by rural residents.

“Just providing broadband pipes isn’t enough,” LaRose said. “More rural residents need to learn about the benefits of high-speed service.”

Other study findings included:

• In Kentucky, the “Connect Kentucky” program closed digital divides between young and old and better-educated and less-educated residents.

• Social uses of the Internet increased, leading to higher levels of community satisfaction and attachment, and, ultimately, lower intentions to relocate away from rural communities.

Participating in the project were the University of Louisville and the University of Texas, Austin. Funding for the project came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Full Report

Airspan Well Positioned to Extend Market Leadership in U.S. Rural Broadband Networks

Original Article - CNN Money

Complete WiMAX FCC and RUS Certified Solutions Available Today

Airspan Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: AIRN), a leading provider of broadband wireless access networks, publicized today the availability of the industry's most complete FCC and Rural Utilities Service (RUS) certified lineup of fixed and mobile WiMAX Base Stations and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) for the U.S. rural market. This announcement follows the just-signed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that has placed significant emphasis on rural broadband. RUS approval is obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, affirming Rural Development acceptance and "Buy American" status of equipment. Airspan is among a select few WiMAX equipment manufacturers with this coveted "Buy America" status.

"Airspan has been recognized by leading WiMAX industry analysts as the market leader in rural America," said Declan Byrne, Airspan's Chief Marketing Officer. "Following the recent legislation, many of our existing customers are positioning our WiMAX equipment to the grant and loan-making authorities of the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture. In addition, we are working to bring together an industry-leading consortium of operators, systems integrators and grant-writing and loan-application partners to assist rural operators in attaining funds from the stimulus legislation, and to deploy broadband networks in a targeted and timely manner."

Airspan has been serving rural America for several years already, with broadband wireless equipment deployed in 43 states. Airspan is currently providing equipment to the largest 3.65 GHz rural network in the country being deployed by FairPoint Communications in New England. Airspan has RUS approved and FCC certified products ready to deploy to help rural residents and businesses get connected. Supporting bandwidth-intensive services such as high-speed Internet access, Internet telephony (VoIP) and video streaming, Airspan's WiMAX solutions allow for an easy, quick and affordable deployment of a broadband network.

"Wireless broadband is an ideal technology for rural America," commented Declan Byrne. "Whereas other technologies such as cable and DSL require digging trenches and laying down cables to reach these remote areas, which can be very costly and time consuming, WiMAX base stations can be easily set up to service a rural and dispersed subscriber base with immediate connectivity. We are aligned with the stimulus bill's broadband intentions of reaching rural and underserved Americans quickly with quality connectivity."

"Broadband for the rural market will be a key focus in the next 12-18 months, and WiMAX in 3.65 GHz will be a leading technology choice due to the recent deregulation of the frequency and the economic characteristics of WiMAX," said Emmy Johnson, Founder & Principal Analyst of Sky Light Research. "Equipment vendors that have successfully demonstrated their ability to provide a strong wireless product offering will benefit the most. Sky Light's quarterly market share research, in conjunction with Synergy Research Group, shows that the 3.65 GHz WiMAX market demonstrated triple digit growth in the first nine months of 2008, with Airspan leading the market at more than 30 percent share."

Earlier this week 650 mainly rural television broadcasters decided to move ahead with the transition from analog signals to digital signals despite a government approved delay. "We are encouraged by this decision, made by approximately one third of the total 700 MHz broadcasters, which will allow our current customers who hold this valuable spectrum to quickly deploy our WiMAX equipment in this band," continued Declan Byrne.

J.J. Stutler, CEO of Stutler Technologies, a Kansas-based wireless integrator, added, "Airspan has been a valuable partner for Stutler in the last few years and we have made great progress in reaching rural America. The stimulus package reserves $7.2 Billion for rural broadband, all of which must be allocated by September 2010. We believe WiMAX is one of the only technologies that can reasonably and cost-effectively reach the dispersed and low-density population areas targeted by this bill. We are looking forward to assisting current and future customers with this growth."

Airspan joined the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO) recently. OPASTCO is a group of hundreds of independent carriers providing voice and data services in rural areas that are often expensive to serve due to difficult terrain and low population density. These innovative service providers use a variety of technologies, including WiMAX, to extend broadband to customers in hard to reach communities.

Airspan successfully passed FCC compliance tests for its 1.4 GHz solution earlier this week. "This continues to underscore Airspan's unique and complete offering of WiMAX solutions. Airspan now has solutions for 700 MHz, 1.4-1.5, 3.65, 4.9, 5.4, and 5.8 GHz frequency bands, and is the only WiMAX vendor covering all of these bands," added Byrne. "We have welcomed the tremendous customer response for our solutions and urge interested local exchange carriers to contact us via our North American sales offices. The legislation's intent to rapidly distribute broadband assistance is evident and Airspan is ideally positioned to bring operators the necessary spectrum, certified equipment, deployment partners and grant-writing expertise in a timely and successful manner."

Operators seeking to deploy wireless broadband in rural United States should contact Airspan at 561.893.8687 or email For more information on Airspan's rural broadband WiMAX solution, visit