FairPoint tapped to provide CoverageCo's small-cell backhaul service in rural Vermont

FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP) has reached another milestone in its ongoing wireless backhaul drive by securing a small cell contract with emerging wireless infrastructure provider CoverageCo.

With a focus on helping enable existing wireless operators to expand their rural coverage through roaming agreements, CoverageCo. will use the telco's fiber and Ethernet-based wholesale services as the transport mechanism to serve 200 miles of rural Vermont, beginning with service in Orange County.

CoverageCo., a subsidiary of software-defined radio vendor Vanu, is building its network in Vermont with a mix of its own money and a public grant. The service provider received a $500,000 grant from the Vermont Telecommunications Authority for a 90-mile project and expects to extend the project an additional 125 miles through its own capital investment.

While small cells are still a relatively new concept, a recent study from Informa forecast that femtocell deployments, for one, will rise from "2.1 million units at end-2011 to 87.3 million units at end-2016, largely driven by consumer and, to a lesser extent, enterprise deployments."

A key part of the telco's wireless backhaul drive is fiber and Ethernet. This deployment is important as it looks to reach over 1,000 towers with fiber and Ethernet by the end of the year.

Having only entered the wireless backhaul wholesale segment in 2010, the telco forecast that its Ethernet-based fiber to the tower (FTTT) business in northern New England--including Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont--will grow over 39 percent in 2013.

During the second quarter, Ethernet contributed about $14 million of revenue to its business and wholesale segment, up from $10 million in the same period a year ago.

For more:
- see the release
- here's Informa's study (.pdf)

Special report: Frontier, FairPoint, others find new wholesale life with wireless backhaul

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