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."
While Tier 1 carriers make up the vast majority of those deploying fiber to North American homes, other provider types are making their mark, RVA's study for Fiber Broadband Association finds.
Tier One ILECs primary providers for fiber deployment surge to North American homes, but
The FCC's unscientific measures under-represent the number of Americans without broadband, making it imperative for the public and private sectors to work together on bridging the digital divide, says Microsoft President Brand Smith.
Consumers are buying millions of IoT devices, from smart thermostats and security systems to intelligent entertainment setups and furniture. Yet many of these devices remain isolated because home users are uncomfortable connecting them to each other – or even their WiFi. After all, their WiFi network was probably designed only to handle a few laptops, a gaming system and a couple of smartphones. Now, demand on the network is surging and even though you're delivering 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, that doesn't necessarily mean the broadband power is in the right place or reaches every corner of a home.
Even if WiFi coverage is sufficient, typing is not on trend. Voice is far more natural, easier and faster. Using a TV keyboard is archaic when more and more households have access to cloud-based voice services, like Amazon Alexa. This webinar will explore how service providers can create a comfortable, truly smart home for consumers – simultaneously driving up margin and loyalty.
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on Thursday, November 1 at 8 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. UK as Ronan Kelly, CTO, EMEA & APAC Regions at ADTRAN, explores the five pillars of network integrity -- a topic he discussed during his recent Broadband World Forum keynote. Register now!