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Minnesota Poised to Lead in Next Generation Rural Broadband Adoption

Approximately 50 million Americans living in 20 million rural households have limited or no access to high-speed broadband Internet, according to a 2010 U.S. government study. Closing this “digital divide” must be a major driver in regional economic development and Minnesota is on the cusp of leading in the solution, according to a Minnesota technology entrepreneur.

“Now is the time for Minnesota to solve the digital divide without any need for taxpayer money,” said Carl Johan Torarp, speaking at the Blandin Foundation’s 2012 Broadband Conference being held in Duluth.

Torarp is the CEO and founder of Minneapolis-based LocaLoop, Inc., an Internet software technology company created exclusively for the advancement, management and deployment of affordable wireless broadband Internet services in rural communities.

While industry-standard 4G technology is being deployed in high-density metro markets serving tens of millions of users, extending high-speed fiber to individual homes in rural areas is uneconomical, Torarp said. “Sweden tried, but abandoned the effort because it cost up to $5,000 per home,” he said. Major carriers will continue to ignore underserved rural markets as they concentrate on deploying 4G technology in high-density urban markets, he added.

LocaLoop’s patented technology enables a different approach, reaching remote users via relatively low cost wireless transmission sites and cloud-based business management through joint ventures with local providers to deliver both mobile and fixed broadband Internet.

“We put the network operating center, business management software and mobility ‘into the cloud’ creating an efficient, profitable turn-key platform for local providers,” Torarp said.

LocaLoop, Inc., through its wholly-owned subsidiary SynKro Southwest, LLC, recently signed a five-year contract to do just that in the Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services (SMBS) subscriber area in Jackson, Nobel and Cottonwood counties.

“Minnesota can show the way in closing the 4G availability gap for rural markets,” Torarp concluded.

About LocaLoop

LocaLoop, Inc. is the first mobile 4G service provider in America created exclusively for the advancement, management and deployment of affordable wireless broadband Internet services in rural and underserved communities. LocaLoop’s patented 4G cloud technology provides a profitable business platform in partnership with local providers while delivering an optimized broadband Internet user experience. For more information, go to http://www.localoop.com/

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