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Rural Broadband Growth Better than Urban

By: Carol Wilson, Telephony Online

Growth in broadband deployments slowed for all telecom service providers in 2008, but rural telecom service providers had slightly better sequential growth than their urban counterparts. In addition, rural telcos are losing access lines more slowly, according to new research from Pivot Media.

In a report released today, "Rural Vs. Urban: Examining Residential Broadband and Access Line Trends, 2008," Pivot also found that across the industry, broadband deployments are weathering the economic downturn.

"We may have seen the worst of the recession's impact on broadband," said Bernie Arnason, founder and managing partner of Pivot Media. "It's early to say that firmly, but that is one conclusion you might draw."

Pivot looked at broadband access line growth and access line loss by tier-one carriers including AT&T, Verizon and Qwest Communications and compared them to similar 2008 figures from 13 rural carriers including Embarq, Century Tel, Frontier, Alaska Tel, Iowa Telecom, Fairpoint, TDS and others.

The research showed broadband access line growth slowed for both urban and rural service providers, but it slowed at a slightly slower pace for rural service providers, Arnason said. At one point, in the second quarter of 2008, rural telcos had a two-to-one advantage in sequential growth over urban telcos, but by the end of the year, those positions were reversed.


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