Rural SPs minimize broadband, landline fluctuations

Rural telcos and other rural broadband service providers may be on the cusp of gaining new funding for broadband expansion through federal stimulus, but as a group they already are out-performing their larger urban brethren in a couple of key areas--broadband growth and curbing landline loss--according to a new report from Pivot Media.

The report, called "Rural Vs. Urban: Examining Residential Broadband and Access Line Trends, 2008," shows that while rural carriers are seeing the same trends as urban carriers when it comes slower broadband growth and ongoing landline loss, broadband growth is not slowing as much, and landline loss is not happening as quickly, for the rural carriers.

First-quarter earnings reports thus far seem to back up that notion. While large service providers still add hundreds of thousands of broadband customers per quarter, their growth pace in some cases has halved over the past year and their landline loss rate has zoomed into double-digit percentages per quarter. Rural carriers are keeping their landline loss in mid-single-digit percentages for the most part, as they face less competition and less likelihood that mobile substitution is a reliable cost-cutting option. Meanwhile, the rurals still are finding room to grow broadband penetration and now have the prospect of stimulus funds to help them address long-standing gaps in rural broadband coverage.

For more:
- Here's the link to Pivot Media

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