By Alexander Hagen
October 26, 2021 at 5:00 am ET
At Etheric Networks, we are proud to say that we have joined the 5Gfor12GHz Coalition — a consortium of 5G leaders who have come together to maximize the use of America’s 12 GHz spectrum resources to reach underserved communities. In today’s increasingly digital world, it is even more imperative that we take steps to ensure that regulations do not prevent internet service providers from connecting all Americans.
In 2003, my team and I founded Etheric with this simple goal in mind: providing reliable fixed-wireless internet solutions — a unique type of service that is delivered to consumers from network towers (a “fixed” point) — to people in the Bay Area. By rapidly deploying innovative best-in-class engineering and customer service, we have done just this while also shattering benchmarks and serving as an example for how fixed-wireless can solve the connectivity problems of the future. Through our efforts, we’re showing how technology can be leveraged to keep networks up during even the worst of disasters.
While we have expanded to be one of the largest wireless ISPs in the United States, we still operate as a small business, providing customized solutions and networks for each of our unique client needs. And we rely on timely action from regulators and lawmakers to ensure that critical infrastructure remains accessible in order to do so.
Right now, our network capabilities are at a turning point. The reality is that we and other similar small businesses need help from the Federal Communications Commission to continue making a meaningful dent in closing the digital divide and expanding innovative internet service methods. The FCC can accelerate our efforts by revising old rules to unleash valuable 5G spectrum real estate that currently is vastly underutilized — the 12 GHz spectrum band.
Mobile 5G technology is essential to the fixed-wireless internet service we deploy. This fixed-wireless service differs from traditional Internet in the way that the service is delivered to the consumer. For instance, for those buying traditional internet services, a cable goes all the way to a house or business. The customer being serviced must then buy a router and attach it to the wire to serve as a network access point for devices.
With fixed-wireless, there are no cables. Instead, a “fixed” antenna is installed on the house, similar to the way a satellite dish might work. The antenna picks up a network tower signal (5G is the most advanced connection available now) and sends a wireless signal down to a router and devices in the house or business.
These networks have come a long way, and 5G promises faster speeds and to reduce latency in most cases. For Etheric customers, enhanced 5G would mean instantaneous communication, seamless virtual reality, reliable streaming and much more. Further, once widespread 5G is available in the United States, fixed-wireless service will become even more attractive as one of the best options available to consumers — especially for those in traditionally underserved communities who have gone without next-generation connectivity for too long.
While we are currently lagging behind other leaders like China, we have at our disposal the means to immediately enhance 5G mobile services and next-generation connectivity by freeing up the 12 GHz spectrum band for expanded use.
There is currently 500 MHz of spectrum, which can readily support two-way terrestrial 5G services, available in the 12 GHz band — a large and highly valuable portion of spectrum real-estate. Over 400 million mobile and internet users, including Etheric’s customers, would directly benefit from adding this 500 MHz of spectrum.
Additionally, leveraging 5G through the expansion of licensed U.S. mid-band spectrum allocation is not only about fast speeds but also building next-generation networks that will transform the way American businesses serve American families. Building next-generation 5G networks for enterprise will help modernize how hospitals, power grids, factories, and even farms operate by allowing them to deploy new automation tools that can better serve hardworking Americans who rely on them.
Etheric wants to be a part of this initiative to build the next generation of connectivity, but we need the FCC to act now in order to do so. The 12 GHz band offers new possibilities to expand spectrum to anyone and everyone, therefore closing the digital divide. And a rule change to free up this spectrum real estate (while protecting its existing users) is a clear win for regulators and all Americans.
Alexander Hagen is the CEO & Founder of Etheric Networks.
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