Geoverse, a private cellular network operator, today announced it is the managed service partner for the Citizens Broadband Radio Network (CBRS) network being rolled out across Tucson, Arizona, by the city’s municipal government. The network will enable remote learning and multiple smart city applications in the first phase and new use cases and applications in follow-on phases. According to Geoverse, the city’s private network is one of the largest municipal cellular deployments rolled out so far in the United States.
The city has deployed the Geoverse GeoCore Evolved Packet Core (EPC) as the critical control element to manage the CBRS radio network infrastructure from JMA Wireless, the Spectrum Access Service (SAS) from Google, and the many user devices. Mobile devices and end points will be populated with a Geoverse subscriber identity module (SIM) card, enabling them to securely connect to the private network and utilize capabilities such as roaming if they travel off-net.
With the increasing requirement for remote learning, multiple school districts across Tucson faced an all-too-familiar problem: Many households lacked the resources to connect their school-age children. With limited resources and budgets, these school districts approached the city’s IT department to see how it could help address this digital divide.
Collin Boyce, the city government’s CIO, embraced the challenge and quickly developed a strategic plan that started with a school and city-county partnership. Local municipal assets such as city fiber and building rooftops and towers, combined with federal grant money, resulted in a viable plan to solve the student connectivity issue near-term, while also creating a network that could benefit the community elsewhere long-term.
A Wi-Fi approach was considered, but the required equipment, installation resources and related costs to connect the 31 neighborhoods, five school districts and almost 100,000 students proved problematic. Instead, the city evaluated LTE and CBRS, identified key advantages they offer, such as signal reach, performance, proven security and seamless mobility, and ultimately that became the foundation for the municipal solution.
“The resulting CBRS infrastructure footprint and related deployment resources required were significantly much more manageable and therefore more cost-effective, which was significant in understanding the tight schedule and limited resources we were managing against,” Boyce said.
The municipal network offers high-performance wireless connectivity with download speeds of 50 Mbps. In addition, the GeoCore Service platform allows for network slicing across the cellular network, resulting in multiple virtual networks, each of which can each be dedicated to specific functions to help manage city infrastructure domains better.
Uses include connecting the city’s network of traffic lights, monitoring and managing its critical water systems, serving city parks and recreational spaces with public Wi-Fi, and connecting first responders. The network also will be the platform the city uses to offer its staff low-cost, high-performance internet service.
“Once we became more familiar with all the capabilities of LTE and CBRS, it became increasingly clear that Geoverse was the right partner to lead and manage the delivery of this technology for our community network,” Boyce said,
Rod Nelson, the CEO of Geoverse, said the network represents a major deployment for its coverage area and for its support of use cases, underscoring the value of what such highly capable networks can do. “We’re pleased to partner with the city of Tucson on such a critical effort to keep their communities connected and their schools open. This is a model other cities are closely watching,” he said.
Geoverse is a licensed mobile operator that provides turnkey connectivity solutions for enterprises, property owners, and communities. The company’s private 5G/LTE cellular network offering, which is based on CBRS and licensed spectrum, interconnects with major mobile operators, delivering a secure, flexible solution enabling value-added applications and high-performance coverage for users and devices. Geoverse is a subsidiary of ATN International, a company with more than 30 years of experience building and operating cellular solutions for enterprises, carriers and consumers.
The Rudin Family, in collaboration with Crown Castle International, has announced that 345 Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan has become one of the first multi-tenant commercial office buildings to deploy a wireless network using the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).
345 Park tenants will be able to create and access their own dedicated, private broadband wireless networks, using a neutral host CBRS network, which has been built in the lobby and concourse levels. Additional areas within the building will be connected later this year. Construction overlapped with a full renovation of the lobby and concourse designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and coincides with the first anniversary of the FCC’s authorization of the CBRS spectrum band for commercial use.
The initiative, which doubles the current wireless capacity, will provide more flexibility for configuring wireless solutions for improved security and visitor features. While tenants, employees and visitors can use this higher capacity private network, it also allows building ownership to accommodate significantly more devices. The system will also support more bandwidth in the lobby for tenants and visitors as they adhere to new social distancing guidelines.
“CBRS is consistent with our company’s focus on shared assets for the benefit of all. This is of great value to building owners, tenants, and wireless network operators,” said Paul Reddick, vice president of Strategy, Business and Product Development for Crown Castle.
345 Park Avenue is WiredScore Platinum and currently uses the Nantum operating system, a smart building platform developed by Rudin’s start-up technology company, Prescriptive Data, to save money, make tenants more comfortable, and dramatically increase energy efficiency. The new multi-tenant CBRS network will seamlessly integrate with Nantum to provide faster real-time updates to both ownership and tenants including floor-by-floor occupancy data, indoor air quality, lobby occupancy and elevator wait times.
KPMG, a 345 Park tenant, recently selected Nantum to be part of a new patent-pending blockchain capability called KPMG Climate Accounting Infrastructure (CAI), which helps organizations more accurately measure greenhouse gas emissions and track offsets. The CBRS network brings increased bandwidth and heightened security to capture data continuously.
“Real estate owners and operators are under immense pressure to assess the impact of different climate risks on their assets, improve tenant experience and report progress toward emissions reduction goals to stakeholders,” said Arun Ghosh, KPMG One Americas Blockchain & Cryptoassets leader. “A CBRS network can provide the fault tolerant, local 5G backbone to enable KPMG Climate Accounting Infrastructure to capture highly granular data, powered by Nantum, to derive the trusted insights needed to measure progress toward net-zero by accounting for decarbonization and the transition to renewable energy.”
The CBRS network at 345 Park was designed with the infrastructure to meet future demands including 5G software-upgradable radios, which will provide faster speeds and elevated user experiences. Additionally, the private network was built as an Open RAN solution that will lead to lower cost and more flexibility.
Tessco Technologies and Federated Wireless are partnering to support the adoption of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) private networks in a number of industries including manufacturing, transportation and energy.
“We’re looking forward to close collaboration with Tessco in our efforts to accelerate adoption of CBRS in the private wireless market where it is already proving to be a game-changer in a wide range of industries,” said Iyad Tarazi, Federated Wireless president and CEO. “We are confident that this alliance will be beneficial to customers and suppliers, as well as to our two companies.”
Tessco provides a broad range of products as well as RF engineering and materials management via its proprietary OASIS platform. Federated develops shared spectrum CBRS capabilities, providing services including spectrum assessment, RF planning, CBRS training, and spectrum access through its spectrum controller. Together, the companies provide a full portfolio of CBRS solutions enabling end users, resellers, integrators, and contractors to expedite the design, installation and deployment of CBRS private wireless networks.
“CBRS spectrum availability represents an unprecedented opportunity for many industries to meet wireless connectivity challenges,” said Sandip Mukerjee, president and CEO of Tessco. “This collaboration will focus on delivering complete CBRS solutions that provide the best outcome for our mutual customers. Speeding commercial adoption requires a technically competent ecosystem capable of operation excellence and we believe Tessco and Federated Wireless are uniquely equipped to do just that.”
Geoverse, a private cellular network operator, has launched a national network-as-a-service (NaaS) platform, which enables enterprises, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), systems integrators and other partners to introduce the advanced functionality of private cellular networks. The company also offers a turnkey private LTE system that can be owned and operated by the enterprise, property owners, or municipalities.
“People are reading more and more about private cellular, and that is creating momentum in the marketplace. It’s moving more from just curiosity to adoption,” said Bob Gault, chief commercial officer at Geoverse. “So, we are capitalizing on the momentum to accelerate the marketplace and take advantage of the excitement around the solution.”
The NaaS is compatible with general access and priority access licenses in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and 600/700 licensed low band LTE spectrum owned by Geoverse, which has access to the licensed spectrum via another Geoverse line of business – Commnet Wireless.
Geoverse’s NaaS provides the enterprise with an intelligent services platform that securely enables roaming, neutral-host service, voice over LTE (VoLTE), integrated private branch exchange (PBX) calling features, licensed low-band spectrum support and analytics. NaaS includes full evolved packet core (EPC) functionality hosted in the cloud, which can be deployed quickly and at low cost for enterprises of all types or on-premise for low-latency applications. In short, it’s intended to help the enterprise do more with its cellular network.
NaaS is a standalone network component that can be bundled with other network infrastructure elements – either sourced from Geoverse or from a Geoverse partner. In January, Geoverse will enable a channel-led marketing model. The industry partners program will reach out to a variety of companies, including communications service providers that provide service to enterprises, legacy cellular carriers, tower companies, technology vendors, enterprise network resellers, system integrators, value-added resellers and consultants.
“As part of our NaaS offering, we have also announced a formal partner program to allow participating members to easily present a more compelling network offering to their customers,” Gault said. “Our partners give us capabilities and reach in the marketplace. That’s the way we’re going to grow and grow exponentially in fiscal year 2021 and beyond.” Some of Geoverse’s partners include JMA Wireless, Communication Technology Services, CommScope/Ruckus, Advanced Network Services and Nokia.
Geoverse would like to tap into partners’ relationships with local municipalities, which are getting Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to close the digital divide.
“We’re firing up private cellular services in local municipalities to provide video security and distance-based learning in the education space and leveraging the Tier 2 service providers and our many partners to do that,” Gault said.
Geoverse is radio-agnostic; therefore, its NaaS integrates with all leading radio network vendors, allowing organizations that may already have their own radio access networks (RANs) or that have partnered with a preferred VAR or systems integrator to implement a private cellular network. Each of the NaaS-enabled user devices uses a Geoverse subscriber identification module (SIM) card to take advantage of private cellular network functionality, such as user roaming onto other cellular networks.
The foundation of the Geoverse’s NaaS is the GeoCore platform, which provides a clear path to 5G wireless communications. GeoCore securely interconnects private enterprise networks with major public cellular carriers, facilitated by existing roaming agreements that Geoverse has with more than 90 service providers across the United States and internationally.
Geoverse has completed its first successful standalone 5G data session using its GeoCore intelligent service platform. Following this test, Geoverse is preparing to rollout standalone 5G across its national GeoCore footprint during the first half of 2021 as a foundation for delivering 5G to the enterprise.
“Private cellular networks are starting to see real growth, and that trajectory will only accelerate as enterprises look to take advantage of new technologies like CBRS and business models to achieve high-performance mobility services in a mobile first world,” said Geoverse CEO Rod Nelson. “With our NaaS offering, Geoverse brings an integrated solution to market, providing our partners a highly effective way to easily do more with their own products and ultimately help their customers do more with their networks.”
The potential vertical industries for private cellular networks, according to market researcher Business Industry Reports, include manufacturing, transportation, utilities, mining, oil and gas, healthcare, education, retail and hospitality, and government and municipalities. Early NaaS deployments include both fixed wireless service, such as the service used by so many school districts today for remote learning, and mobile-based wireless service for the enterprise.
Nokia, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies are some of the OEMs deploying dedicated private networks for enterprises, according to market research database Kenneth Research. “For instance, Nokia offers MulteFire and CBRS small cells that allow enterprises to deploy their own private LTE networks,” information from Kenneth Research reads. “The company provides a virtual mobile edge computing/private LTE solution to enterprises that enable them with edge cloud low-latency applications that include analytics, push-to-talk and push-to-video, IoT management and video orchestration.”
CommScope Partnerships Help It Enter Enterprise Market
CommScope and Cradlepoint have partnered to deliver turnkey private LTE deployments designed for mission-critical fixed and mobile use. The end-to-end solution provides enterprise-grade security for indoor and outdoor applications, using CommScope’s Ruckus CBRS networks and Cradlepoint’s cloud managed endpoints.
In another partnership, CommScope and Inseego plan to offer a CBRS solutions for mission-critical fixed and mobile use for indoor and outdoor applications.
Verizon to Deploy NaaS in Walgreens Stores
NaaS has caught the interest of the major carriers. Verizon Business will deploy it to deliver an enhanced wireless services to customers at more than 9,000 Walgreens and Duane Reade retail locations across the United States. The NaaS will carry the breadth of Verizon’s assets including LTE, 5G and Verizon Media, which will enable it to continually update its customized technology and business process offering.
Tami Erwin, Verizon Business CEO, said, “Working closely with Walgreens to understand their focus areas, we’ve tailored an offering that will meet their technology needs of today, and quickly scale to offer a rolling deployment of 5G in Walgreens locations, next-gen in-store experiences for customers and employees, and future-proofed backend operations to enhance efficiencies.” Verizon Business has also announced its intention to deploy on-site LTE private networks for enterprise customers.
Earlier in December, Verizon Business launched On Site LTE, which provides enterprises with a private, secure and dedicated on-premises wireless network platform on which to run critical business applications and operations. According to Verizon, On Site LTE can serve as a platform to accelerate digital transformation initiatives — such as predictive maintenance, robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and mobile edge compute (MEC) — while improving the overall operational output of their businesses.
The FCC’s auction of Priority Access Licenses (PAL) in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), which began July 23, ended yesterday raising $4.5 billion in bids. The auction offered 22,631 licenses in the 3550-3650 MHz band, which was the largest number of spectrum licenses ever put on the block in an FCC auction. These 70 megahertz of licensed spectrum may serve a mix of uses, from mid-band capacity for the carriers’ deployment of 5G to private wireless systems used by enterprises and municipalities.
“Ericsson stands ready to support these CBRS networks with its outdoor micro radio, outdoor massive MIMO radio, indoor Radio Dot, and our domain coordinator software fully supporting the PAL frequencies.” Says Paul Challoner VP network product solutions.
Bidders won 20,625 of the 22,631 available licenses, or more than 91.1percent. The auction was a success, according FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who said the demand for the licenses resulted from reforms made to the rules for the 3.5 GHz band, which were spearheaded by FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly. Dave Wright, head of the CBRS Alliance also applauded the results of the auction.
“Whether judged by traditional metrics such as total auction proceeds and price/MHz/Pop, or by non-traditional metrics such as the number and diversity of bidders, the demand for rural as well as metro licenses, and the overall number of licenses awarded – one has to conclude that Auction 105 far exceeded expectations,” Wright said. “This is further confirmation of the value of this shared band and is the last component to be put into service, enabling the full realization and potential of the 3-Tier spectrum sharing model.”
Spectrum Will Enable Smaller, Rural Operators
Although it is too early to know the winners, the auction will most likely enable new market entrants, including smaller and rural operators, to build low-cost carrier-grade networks, which will lead to hundreds of new networks, according to a new report from Colorado-based cooperative CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange, which examines how the CBRS band could change the broadband industry.
“We think that operators can build a high-quality network by acquiring a small amount of licensed spectrum,” according to the report. “Having the ability to toggle between licensed and unlicensed channels allows operators to maintain high throughput speeds. For example, when data traffic levels are high, operators can use their licensed spectrum as an overflow channel and when data traffic is light, they can use the lower-cost unlicensed channel.”
The owners of PALs in the CBRS band will mix with the users of the general authorized access (GAA) licenses to create to create new business models with new market players. Some of the possible bidders in the auction were Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, fiber supplier Corning, John Deere and universities, according to Cobank.
“For rural America, John Deere stands out for its investments in agricultural technologies,” the report said. “Deere’s interest in buying spectrum may signal its intent to become a network operator where it bundles high-speed data connectivity with farming equipment. After all, the company’s investments in precision agriculture, etc. won’t be fully realized until access to high speed data networks broadens in rural America.”
The most likely purchasers of the PALs were mobile network operators looking to supplement their other spectrum holdings, cable multiple-system operators (MSOs), existing CBRS-based wireless internet service providers (WISPs), enterprises, local governments, telcos and investors who see the opportunity to obtain CBRS spectrum and then subdivide it into smaller parcels for use by smaller enterprises and entities, according to Iain Gillott, founder and president of iGR, a market strategy consultancy, in an article published by AGL eDigest.
“It is this last group that is particularly interesting,” Gillott wrote. “Because PALs are at the county level, the chances of an enterprise being able to afford a PAL is unlikely, unless it has significant spectrum needs across the entire area. But a larger enterprise/investor could buy one or more PALs in a given area and then make the spectrum available to a single commercial building owner or single warehouse.
“For example, imagine one of the major public cloud providers obtaining PALs across the United State and then making the spectrum available to their cloud customers for internet of things (IoT) applications,” he added.
Detailed auction results, including the names of Auction 105 winning bidders, will be released in a few days. For more information, visit: www.fcc.gov/auction/105.