Verizon Wireless Seeks Mobility Funding For Rural LTE Licensees

As Verizon Wireless touts its 38-city LTE launch, slated for this year, the company meantime is seeking ways to help pay for rural 4G network construction.

Verizon earlier this week revealed, in an FCC filing, that it would like rural carriers licensing Verizons LTE services to receive federal subsidies, as the FCC hopes to shift the Universal Service Fund into the Connect America Fund; part of that change would entail a move to mobility” funding, away from wireline support. To that end, Verizon told the FCC that, depending on how the anticipated mobility program is structured, those carriers that lease Verizon spectrum to offer 4G services in rural areas may be candidates to put this support to good use.”

Earlier this year, Verizon said its in talks with rural counterparts to license to them some of the 700MHz spectrum it bought in 2008. That way, residents could have access to Verizons in-progress LTE network, even if they dont have 3G service. Yet if those potential licensees indeed were able to pay for access to Verzions spectrum with government money, the Rural Cellular Association, for one, sees that as Verizon going back on its word.

Verizon is attempting to leverage mobility funding to expand their network, despite their voluntary commitment to reduce high-cost funding to zero as a condition of a previous merger,” Steven Berry, president and CEO of RCA, said in a prepared statement. Increasing the level of support used to expand Verizons reach, whether directly or through affiliate programs, is the opposite of their commitment.” 

Berry further called on the FCC to support mobile broadband deployment throughout rural America without letting Verizon decide who can participate in their program.”

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