NCTC queues up Broadband Solutions – Access program for its members

The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) is launching a new program that's designed to keep its members' broadband services up to speed.

The NCTC announced its Broadband Solutions – Access Program on Thursday in order to help its cable and telco members, most of which operate in rural areas, stay competitive in regards to providing internet access for their subscribers.

Ever since it was founded in 1984, the NCTC has found strength in numbers for its members, and such is the case for the new broadband access program. The program was designed to help NCTC's members lower their broadband access and transport costs by negotiating as a single entity. 

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NCTC has sent out RFPs to national access carriers and regional transport circuit providers in order to build an aggregation model for broadband access. NCTC will negotiate master service agreements for its operators who can then elect to opt into the agreements once the deals have been struck.

"Today, we launched our RFP to many of the top carriers so that they can propose to the NCTC how they would like to handle this aggregation model," said Jared Baumann, NCTC‘s vice president of broadband solutions, in an email to FierceTelecom. "Prior to the launch of the RFP, we have engaged in numerous discussions with these carriers and received a great deal of positive feedback.

While we do not know exactly how these proposals will be structured at this time, our member operators will have the advantage of knowing that they can sign onto the NCTC master service agreements to get the very best possible deals from our chosen carrier partners.”

Once those agreements have been completed, NCTC's members can buy bandwidth through the master agreements. Baumann said NCTC expects to receive carrier responses to its RFP by April 24 and hopes to formally announce the finalized deals before the third quarter of this year.

"The agreements we are working on at this time are focused on internet access from the Tier 1 carrier POPs (points of presence). Our member operators, which include almost every cable and telco company in the United States under the size of Cox Communications, are thirsty for better internet access pricing as demands soar," Baumann said. "Many of our members are already in the big carrier hotels around the country. We are looking to aggregate the buying power of our membership."

The NCTC’s executive team, board of directors and a member-led advisory committee will provide guidance for the program.

NCTC's 792 members serve approximately 15 million consumers with broadband service across more than 3,000 plus communities.