RTO Wireless Partners with FirstLight to Expand Rural Internet Access


  • FirstLight
  • RTO Wireless

FRAMINGHAM, MA RTO Wireless, a provider of mobile voice/data, broadband, backhaul and pervasive IoT connectivity infrastructure, announced its partnership with FirstLight, a provider of fiber optic data, internet, data center, cloud and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers throughout the Northeast. FirstLight wholesale services will give RTO Wireless a new foundation on which to connect remote communities.

Founded in 1999, FirstLight now provides comprehensive fiber optic telecommunications services to six states, with connectivity to Montreal. With approximately 15,000 route miles of fiber, connecting nearly 9,000 on-net locations and access to more than 30,000 locations, FirstLight has created a dense fiber optic network capable of delivering a full suite of services to its customers. Its network has also been designed from the ground up to maintain maximum availability, regardless of usage.

Crucially, FirstLight's network already extends across significant areas of the Northeast. By leveraging this network, as well as FirstLight's extensive telecommunications experience, RTO Wireless plans to further build out broadband internet access to rural and developing communities. Initially, RTO Wireless will be working with FirstLight to expand connectivity in New YorkVermont and Maine. An initial project will include leveraging FirstLight's data center located in Brunswick, Maine.

"FirstLight is the ideal partner to help RTO Wireless carry out our mission to connect the unconnected everywhere," says Steve Hubbard, CEO and co-founder of RTO Wireless. "With its experience, expertise and capabilities, FirstLight compliments the innovative work we have already done to build and expand innovative connectivity solutions.

As the two companies begin this strategic collaboration, each will bring valuable skills to the table. FirstLight plans to build fiber laterals to its towers, which will be used to connect to LTE-Advanced radio equipment utilizing the new Citizens Broadband Radio Service better known as CBRS to expand broadband to these rural areas. RTO will also supplement with Television White Space (TVWS) equipment for extremely hard to reach areas. "Leveraging CBRS along with LTE-Advanced, 5G ready hardware will allow RTO Wireless to reach rural customers and deliver plenty of speed and capacity for years to come," says Rob Reagan, CTSO and co-founder of RTO Wireless. 

This new collaboration between RTO Wireless and FirstLight marks a major step toward fulfilling the commitment RTO Wireless made as a member of Microsoft's Airband Initiative. Launched in 2018, the Airband Initiative aims to extend broadband access to 2 million people in unserved portions of rural America by July 4, 2022.


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