This week, the cable company, Midco, who has over 385,000 customers, announced that they will be switching from traditional cable to offering fixed wireless home internet. This new internet option will work just like 5G but runs on a slightly different standard.
Midco currently operates in Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. They hope to use fixed wireless internet to bring high speed internet to rural customers who currently don’t have internet or have limited options.
In recent testimony to the US House of Representatives hearing on rural broadband Midco’s Forde said:
Currently, Midco fixed wireless provides internet connectivity at speeds up to 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload and higher, depending on customer need. Data travels over our fiber network to a tower fed by our fiber, called a “fiber backhaul tower,” and then the signal is broadcast from tower to tower and ultimately to the customer using spectrum. Fixed wireless allows us to reach remote, rural areas that are up to 50 miles away from our fiber network, and we can implement this solution relatively quickly and without the effort or expense of constructing fiber networks.
We can also deploy new fixed wireless networks during the winter months, when harsh weather makes fiber construction impossible. Fixed wireless allows Midco to offer internet where the terrain makes it difficult, if not impossible, to provide fiber internet connectivity, such as through the Badlands of North Dakota and South Dakota, the granite fields in Northern Minnesota, or the limestone cliffs in Eastern Minnesota. This technology also allows Midco to reach vast areas of farmland where it is not economically feasible to run fiber to every farm, because there may be many miles between each farm.
Similar networks are already rolling out across the United States. Although this is not 5G, there are some benefits to this fixed wireless system for rural America. Many see this as a stepping stone to 5G internet as it starts to roll out nationwide later this year.
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