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Bridging The Digital Divide In Underserved Markets

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- CCA 2012 -- Urging U.S. telecommunications operators competing with the largest, national carriers to think like mobile broadband providers, Robert Vrij, President, Americas of Alcatel-Lucent, today will outline new service and revenue possibilities enabled by 4G/LTE technologies – and ways to efficiently invest in these technologies.

In his keynote address at the 20th annual Competitive Carriers Convention in Las Vegas, Mr. Vrij will encourage regional, competitive carriers to step outside their traditional role and begin thinking about new, innovative services that they can now offer globally. Mr. Vrij is also expected to urge operators to consider the economic and societal implications of being able to provide broadband (wirelessly via 4G/LTE) to markets and areas that are currently un-served or underserved. 

As part of his remarks, Mr. Vrij will discuss how advanced technologies have transformed communications networks from a function of wireless and fixed-access to more of a lifeline, noting that consumers depend on it more than ever to get things done and stay in touch, no matter when or where they are. As a result, making mobile broadband service more accessible is a core building block for economic growth, education, and national competitiveness. 

"We see the availability of 4G technologies as a key enabler to deliver meaningful broadband services – from remote medical care to e-learning - in areas where traditional 'fixed' broadband is not available," said Mr. Vrij.  "With tablet sales in rural markets alone expected to surge more than 50% (CAGR) in the next four years, competitive carriers have an opportunity to position themselves now as broadband operators with services that can generate customer value and boost the economy."

Vrij will cite several statistics that speak to the need for providing mobile broadband services more universally in the US, including: 
  • Rural America comprises the largest portion of unserved and underserved broadband population. (1)
  • At the national level, unserved or underserved broadband households represen t 6.1% of all households. (2)
  • Making broadband 100% available would result in the retention/creation of 117,000 jobs in the 19 US states with the lowest broadband penetration. (3)
  • Broadband is essential to the 26 states that have state virtual schools as it increases learning access in rural areas. (4)

Mr. Vrij's remarks will also provide examples of some of the many new, creative ways that competitive carriers can work together, with new cross-industry ecosystems and with local governments and utilities to efficiently begin providing mobile broadband services via 4G/LTE technologies.

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