Broadband and Rural America

rural america, rural broadband, rural wireless

Broadband and Rural America

Yesterday, Verizon decided to drop 8,500 broadband customers from their network. The reason cited was that they were using too much data, and were causing the company losses. I recently shared on a presentation on T-Mobile’s 600Mhz, and the opportunity to serve broadband to rural America. T-Mobile has already begun rolling out coverage in Wyoming with Northwest Oregon, West Texas, Southwest Kansas, Oklahoma Panhandle, Western North Dakota, Maine, and Coast North Carolina planned.

Fixed Broadband and 5G

Fixed broadband was primarily distributed using copper, cable, and fiber. But that is an expensive investment when population density is so low, as it is in rural America. However, 5G will give us fiber-like speeds, which is a perfect solution for the underserved markets of rural America. Once those markets are “lit up,” then the broadband gap will be lessened between the haves and the have-nots. This will open up new markets to rural America.

As previously mentioned, T-Mobile has already begun “lighting up” it’s 600Mhz frequency, which for now will deliver 4G/LTE Advanced, but will be ready for 5G when the time is right. This means that broadband is coming to rural America without the need to pay for roaming charges or “being outside the network.”

A Great Opportunity

Finally, a technology comes along that rivals optical fiber. 5G can promise speeds that are far greater than ever imagined –over 300 times faster than LTE. So Verizon letting go of those 8,500 customers is not a big deal after all. It just proves that rural America is underserved, and someone can make a business case out of it. Furthermore, broadband connectivity has been shown to improve GDP.

The FCC opened up 50Mhz of the 3.6Ghz frequency for wireless internet operations. That’s right; it’s free to use without any need to purchase radio spectrum. The 3.6Ghz is already being used for 4G/LTE and will most likely also work as a 5G frequency with various vendors supporting it.  A rural wireless company providing broadband to rural America could also apply and receive federal funds. It’s a great opportunity and something to think about.