Pandemic Surfaced Limitations in Rural Connectivity

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By Dean Tan | 2Q 2020 | IN-5798


Regulators Open Spectrum Band for WISPs


The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted temporary Special Temporary Authority (STA) access to Fixed-Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP) on March 26, 2020. This move came as the country battles COVID-19 through social distancing measures and stay home requirements that are driving the need for better connectivity at home. As families stay within their homes for telework and home-based learning, there has been a resulting demand surge for bandwidth of as much as 40%.

The WISPs have been granted temporary access to the 5.8 GHz (5,850 to 5,895 MHz) band for 60 days, which will bring greater connectivity to those living in rural areas in 29 states. The granted 5.8 GHz is part of the U-NII-4 band, which is also shared with Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC). The STA granted access to 33 WISPs operating in the rural areas. Notable WISPs include NextLink Internet, Metalink Technology, and Safelink Internet. Due to the COVID-19 situation, WISPs will tune their equipment at their customers’ premises through a software update in order for the equip…

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