Fixed-mobile broadband provider Radwin this week partnered with Microsoft to develop and use White Space solutions to deliver broadband Internet to unserved communities, including rural regions of the United States.
The relationship is part of Microsoft's Airband Initiative, which promotes the use of TV white spaces -- the name commonly given unused spectrum in UHF television bands -- to bridge the digital divide by 2022. This bandwidth is in the 600 MHz frequency range and enables wireless signals to travel over hills and through buildings and trees, wrote Microsoft President Brad Smith in a July 10, 2017 blog.
"The addition of innovative TV White Space solutions to Radwin’s portfolio, which complements our sub-6GHz and mmWave fixed wireless offering, would enable our service provider customers and partners to extend their footprint by connecting more remote subscribers in challenging deployment use cases, penetrating through terrain obstructions and vegetation, and therefore helping to close the digital divide," said Sharon Sher, president and CEO of Radwin, in a statement.
In addition to fixed wireless access, Radwin's broadband solutions include backhaul, private network connectivity, video surveillance and broadband on the move for trains, vessels and vehicles. Customers include service providers and enterprises, according to Radwin.
The rural market is ripe for disruption, Sprint Chief Technology Officer John Saw told Broadband World News in an interview this week. If the federal government authorizes the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, each company's spectrum -- for example, 2.5MHz for Sprint, 600MHz and mmWave for T-Mobile -- will help the "new T-Mobile" disrupt rural broadband with a high-quality, cost-effective fixed wireless service, he said, building on a topic he raised during a presentation during the Wells Fargo 5G Forum in late June. (See Sprint CTO: Rural Ripe for Disruption With Fixed Wireless.)
Bringing Connectivity From Class to Home
Using TV White Spaces, some Virginia students have access to broadband at home and school. (Source: Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp.)
Alternate technologies such as white spaces have been making a difference. In Virginia, for example, the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp., used TV white spaces to extend schools' broadband networks into students' homes so they could connect for homework, family members could get career and job resources and residents could access health, education and other benefits.
In February, Packerland Broadband -- which currently is upgrading its fiber infrastructure across Wisconsin to support its telecom, Internet and TV services -- inked a
partnership with Microsoft to use its TV white spaces solution to deliver broadband to the 82,000 people living in rural regions of northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan over the next four years.
"Partnering with Microsoft allows us to bring new services and push our services further into the rural landscape in our region and beyond," said Cory Heigl, vice president of Packerland Broadband, in a statement. "We are the people we serve, and in this part of the world, we want to make an impact for the better. Our partnership with Microsoft will help us to influence lives by improving at-home education, enhancing economic opportunities, keeping up with health care advancements and furthering the agricultural innovation of our rural communities."
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
As the pool of savvy, fiber-rich operators across the US rural and regional landscape wanes, the financial community will grow even more interested in acquiring or investing in them, a CoBank report says.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.