Most of the telecom industry headlines get devoted to what the three or four largest telcos are doing. Occasionally, you hear about the next tier, the ones who operate in parts of a handful of states. Rarely do you hear about the smallest tier of telcos, the ones serving a few counties or hundreds of customers within a single state, possibly in a territory so remote that the service they provide truly meets the traditional definition of a lifeline service.
In Arkansas, Arkwest Communications and Ritter Communications are doing exactly that, but they are also innovating and growing to keep pace with the telecom industry's evolution. Rural carrier consolidation is a trend, but it's occurring in spots only where the largest rural carriers can find real synergies. It could be a while, if ever, before this trend finds the likes of Arkwest and Ritter, but that might be just fine.
- Read this story in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette