CCA celebrates 25 years of advocating for rural carriers this week

The continued evolution of LTE in rural markets and the repacking process for 600 MHz spectrum are expected to be major topics at this week’s Competitive Carriers Association show, as well as perspective from both of the major political parties on issues impacting smaller carriers.

Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr, a newly confirmed Republican FCC member, will be making one of his first significant public policy addresses at CCA this week, and Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will address CCA as well. There will also be a sit-down discussion of telecom issues by 2016 presidential candidates and former governors Jeb Bush and Martin O’Malley.

“It isn’t often that you get two former presidential candidates from two different parties to sit down and think about issues of consequence to wireless carriers and the audience there,” said Steve Berry, president and CEO of the CCA.

Berry said that he expected to see a lot of interest and conversation around the repacking of 600 Mhz spectrum and noted that the majority of the licenses went to CCA members. The speed at which that spectrum can be cleared and brought into use is both a policy and technology issue, he added. He also expects there to be much more interest on the continuing evolution of LTE, compared to large carrier interest in “5G” technology.

“Instead of jumping right into 5G, we can talk about how rural America is going to be able to bring high-speed mobile broadband and sustain that capability and growth as we mature,” Berry said. “There is a lot of useful life yet in LTE and VoLTE, especially for rural America. … We’re going to talk about what you can do today, right now, to increase revenues and enhance your network capacity and capabilities and make sure you’re preparing for the next generation of services.”

CCA and its predecessor organization, the Rural Carriers Association, are celebrating 25 years of advocacy on behalf of rural and regional carriers; the group was first founded in 1992 by a group of nine such carriers.

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