Closing the High-Speed Broadband Gap: Shared Spectrum as a Fiber Extension

New America
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM EST

More than 23 million Americans living in rural areas – and 34 million overall – lack high-speed Internet access, depriving them of economic and educational opportunities. And more than 80 percent of U.S. households and businesses have only one option for high-speed broadband – a lack of competition that keeps prices higher and Internet speeds slower than they should be.

One cause of the high-speed broadband gap is the high cost of trenching wireline fiber all the way to homes, schools and small business locations, especially in rural areas. One potential remedy is making a large band of quality spectrum available for “wireless fiber,” allowing competitive wireless internet service providers (WISPs) and others to deliver fast broadband connections at 25 percent or less of the capital cost of fiber-to-the-home networks.

Last month the new Broadband Access Coalition filed a Petition for Rulemaking, asking the FCC to allow a new licensed, point-to-multipoint fixed wireless service to share the underutilized 3700 – 4200 MHz band currently used by the fixed satellite service (FSS). While protecting incumbent FSS operations, fixed broadband providers can leverage the band to provide near-gigabit broadband in rural and underserved areas, fill urban connectivity gaps, and promote competition among ISPs in suburban and other areas as well.

Our panel will describe the feasibility of sharing the FSS band and how wireless fiber can immediately enable more affordable high-speed connections to homes, small businesses, libraries and other institutions.


Jeff Kohler
Co-Founder, Rise Broadband

Andrew Clegg
Spectrum Engineering Lead, Google

Brian Hinman
CEO and Co-Founder, Mimosa Networks

Ellen Satterwhite
Policy Fellow, American Library Association

Michael Calabrese
Director, Wireless Future Project, Open Technology Institute