18 thoughts on “Broadband in the Boonies Gets a $267M Boost”

  1. Om

    I don’t know this outfit, but am glad someone like you is looking for the details. Many of the USDA loans have gone to projects based on nearly impossible to achieve subscriber rates. Others are political. The result: an enormous percentage of the RUS loans went into early default.

    All of which I hope isn’t true for this one, where I have no data.


  2. Dave, I hope you’re wrong. But this PR firm, Percepture, located in Parsippany NJ, is known for representing Telecoms and is only around 10 miles, as the crow flies, from the Verizon Operations Center in Basking Ridge NJ (former home of AT&T Longlines.)

    Is anyone else picking up a whiff of stink? 😉

  3. Agree. It is odd that a company which just got a large loan from the Feds doesn’t have office staff to answer the phone during businss hours(I called last week the multiple numbers on their website) and now have basically a non-functioning website. This website was fully-functional last week and you can probably access the archives on http://archive.org.

  4. There needs to be accountability for these companies that are getting loans under this program. We need to establish strong service quality standards and consumer protections. Providers should be made to publicly report the actual speeds of the services they offer. Cost to consumers should be monitored so that the service is truly affordable for all.

    These are some of the goals of the Communications Workers Of America’s project Speed Matters. Check out their website at http://www.speedmatters.org for more information.

  5. Rural broadband does not need such loans. Services such as Surfbeam or wildblue delivered over satellite can do much better. WiMAX can be a local extension in an area, but perhaps only in the next two years when wimax customer devices are much easier to obtain.

  6. Om,
    Thank you for reading and posting a link to my story. I’m doing more research into this company, as I’ve received several comments about the company. Open Range has all but taken down their website following these reports. Strange.

  7. Rural broadband? Come on. Fort Collins, Colorado (pop – 137,000, home to a state university, and 48% of the population has completed 4+ years of higher ed), Loveland, Colorado, Longmont, Colorado? These towns are hardly rural and as of March 30th 2010, Open Range has no subscribers. Their installation has gone terribly – possibly due to non-industry standard techniques (evidence of a company with no prior experience) and bad hardware (Alvarion).

    I wondered about this company when I started doing work for them. Government funding that doesn’t deliver what it promises. Certainly stinky…

  8. As an owner of an outdoor wireless integration company, when the announcement of stimulus funding for rural broadband was made, we saw a mad dash from wireless broadband manufactures to receive their “Buy America Status” under the USDA. The requirements to be considered for certification are extremely light. Many companies outside of the USA qualify if they are part of NATO for example. Otherwise all a hardware manufacture needs to do is load their firmware here in the USA and they can get certification.
    We were also contacted by a lot of so called service providers that were going after the stimulus funds. Most if not all of these companies were not established companies at all. Most were a few people that came from larger telecom entities, which quickly established an S-Corp and started grabbing licenses for the 3.65GHz band in various rural areas. This way they could have a better chance at getting funding or be able to sub-lease the spectrum. These companies need our expertise to put together a design for submission. Note: we rejected many of these start up firms.
    It’s a shame that the funds were given out so quickly to many unqualified companies that do not have the engineering nor staff levels to deploy a legitimate long term WiMax solution. Unfortunately I believe a lot of money will be lost, but some fortunes made!

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