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Tag Archives: Digital Divide

Opinion: Wireless Versus Wireline — Winners and Losers

By Don Bishop

Dollar numbers associated with taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects reach into the trillions for everything Congress has under consideration, and settle into a $65 billion figure for broadband telecommunications infrastructure. Where the money goes has the effect of picking winners and losers in business, a normal outcome of federal spending.

Absent money that comes from taxpayers, businesses rely on money from investors, lenders and profits to spend on real estate, equipment and human resources. The way they spend the money makes the difference between success and failure, how well they compete for customers with others in the same line of business, and how much they can grow.

Focus for a moment on the tussle over taxpayer money for overcoming the digital divide, defined as the difference between having broadband internet access and not having it. From the perspective of educators, the digital divide has an adverse effect on students. Students without broadband internet access seem to number the most in low-income homes. Additionally, the digital divide is found in rural homes separated by long distances from the nearest internet access points.

For the first group, money from taxpayers or collected from telecommunications customers under government requirements becomes available to subsidize bill payments made by low-income consumers.

For the second group, taxpayer money would be spent with companies to build additional wireline or wireless infrastructure to extend internet connectivity to rural homes.

Therein lies a choice: Should the connectivity be provided by wireline, which mostly means optical fiber, or should it be provided wirelessly, which mostly means fixed wireless access? Should download and upload speeds be symmetrical and no less than 100 Mbps, which mostly favors fiber, or should it allow a lower upload speed of 20 Mbps, which gives more opportunity for wireless providers to meet the requirement?

Answers might become clearer later in September when Congress returns from recess. Shortly before it recessed on Aug. 11, the Senate passed a bill that included grants for service providers for 100/20 Mbps service. The bill raised the federal definition of broadband from the previous 25/3 Mbps service.

“We were pleased that Congress ultimately agreed to speeds that wireless can meet,” said Jonathan Adelstein, president and CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Association.

Gary Bolton, CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association, had argued for 100/100 Mbps service. He said that, at least, the Senate bill acknowledged that the 25/3 Mbps definition of broadband was outdated.

Whom will Congress choose? Our prediction is an outcome that favors wireline, with a small concession to wireless. Many companies that provide wireless service also provide wireline service, so the outcome might not be as divided as it could seem.


Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.

US Cellular, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Inseego Address Digital Divide with Multigigabit Extended-range 5G Milestone Over mmWave

US Cellular, Qualcomm Technologies, Ericsson and Inseego have achieved a 5G wireless communications extended-range milestone over millimeter-wave (mmWave) on a commercial network. The milestone was accomplished at a distance of 7 kilometers km (4.34 miles), the farthest 5G mmWave fixed wireless access (FWA) connection in the United States, with sustained average downlink speeds of ~1 Gbps, sustained average uplink speeds of ~55 Mbps and instantaneous peak downlink speeds recorded at greater than 2 Gbps.

Additionally, at a distance of 1.75 km (1 mile) with no line of sight, the companies achieved sustained average downlink speeds of ~730 Mbps and sustained average uplink speeds of ~38 Mbps. The test operators achieved the results in Janesville, Wisconsin, on US Cellular’s commercial network by applying Ericsson’s extended-range software to commercial Ericsson hardware Antenna Integrated Radio (AIR) 5322, along with an Inseego Wavemaker Pro 5G outdoor CPE FW2010e powered by the Qualcomm 5G fixed wireless access platform gen 1 featuring the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G modem-RF system and a Qualcomm QTM527 mmWave antenna module. The achievement demonstrated the impressive range and connectivity speeds 5G mmWave can provide to homes and businesses everywhere.

Why It’s Important

With its massive capacity, in particular achieving gigabit speeds at this wide range, 5G mmWave is a robust and crucial solution to meet the increasing traffic demand and expand broadband services to help bridge the digital divide throughout rural, suburban and urban communities. 5G mmWave will enable new business opportunities in FWA by providing a cost-effective and future-proof way for communication service providers to deliver high internet speeds. 5G FWA will address the last-mile connectivity challenges by allowing operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to deploy 5G connectivity to homes and institutions such as schools and hospitals. FWA provides the bandwidth required to support high-definition video streaming that can improve remote education and healthcare experiences in suburban and rural environments.


Executives Speak

“We believe that every household and business deserves access to reliable Internet access no matter where they are located, and the results we achieved in this latest mmWave test further confirm that wireless technology is key to providing high-speed broadband service in both urban and rural areas,” said Mike Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer at US Cellular. “By collaborating with companies like Ericsson, Qualcomm and Inseego, we will continue to drive innovation with extended-range technology to ensure that wireless customers across rural America have an exceptional wireless experience designed for their communities.”

Manish Tripathi, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm Technologies, said his company was pleased with its s collaboration with US Cellular, Ericsson and Inseego.

“This milestone continues to highlight the growing momentum we’re seeing across the industry to bridge the digital divide,” Tripathi said. “Our innovations in 5G FWA will help operators and OEMs offer flexible and cost-effective, low-latency, extended range, multigigabit 5G broadband to their customers. The Qualcomm 5G fixed wireless access platform gen 1 was designed to deliver the first fully integrated extended-range mmWave solution to deploy 5G connectivity to homes, small businesses, schools, hospitals and town halls.”

Ashish Sharma, president of IoT and mobile solutions at Inseego, referred to the Inseego Wavemaker Pro 5G outdoor CPE FW2010e as an exciting, high-performance product within the company’s growing portfolio of 5G fixed wireless access solutions.

“In addition to providing long-distance millimeter wave connectivity, we’re delivering the exceptionally high throughput that’s essential for enterprise, SMB and home internet users,” Sharma said. “This performance will get even better with other features we support in our Wavemaker PRO FW2010e 5G solution. It’s truly a game-changer for the FWA market.”


The Companies

Chicago-based US Cellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States. It provides national network coverage and innovations designed to elevate the customer experience.

Qualcomm is a wireless technology innovator and a force behind the development, launch and expansion of 5G.

Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans networks, digital services, managed services and emerging business, and is designed to help customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams.

Inseego offers smart device-to-cloud solutions that extend the 5G network edge, enabling broader 5G coverage, multigigabit data speeds, low latency and strong security to deliver highly reliable internet access.

Source: US Cellular