Half of respondents in a new survey of Competitive Carriers Association (fka Rural Cellular Association) members say they expect TDM backhaul to remain on their networks for the next two to five years or beyond, necessitating investment in technology capable of carrying both native TDM and IP traffic on those networks.
The blind survey, conducted by Exalt Communications, determined that the competitive carriers have made progress in leveling the playing field with the big operators, but challenges remain. Results indicate that although CCA member organizations are generally smaller in scale with correspondingly fewer resources than their larger counterparts, they are aggressively investing in their networks in order to be able to offer subscribers a choice with respect to advanced 4G LTE services, Exalt said.
In fact, 90 percent of CCA members surveyed say they have already or plan to implement LTE; yet TDM will remain part of their networks for years.
Other findings of the survey include:
- Just 15 percent of respondents have employed microwave solutions for backhaul, with 70 percent reporting that they use fiber connections to backhaul data – a relatively expensive option not available in all geographic areas.
- Fifteen percent primarily employ legacy technology in the form of T1 lines for backhaul.
- Fifty-five percent purchased 700 MHz wireless spectrum in order build out their 4G LTE networks.
- Seventy percent indicated that the continued availability of spectrum for backhaul transport is either critical or extremely important.