Wireless Fiber: The Quest for Affordable Gigabit-Fast Broadband Everywhere

Wireless Fiber: The Quest for Affordable Gigabit-Fast Broadband Everywhere

New America
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST

The recent hype surrounding “5G” and the FCC’s Spectrum Frontiers proceeding seems premised on freeing up airwaves for faster, low-latency mobile connectivity. That will begin to take shape closer to 2020. Here and now, though, an equally if not more critical version of “5G” – “wireless fiber” – is already being deployed by start-ups and, soon, by heavyweights such as Google, Facebook and Verizon.
Wireless fiber is telecom shorthand for fixed wireless links capable of beaming high-capacity Internet access of 1 gigabit per second or even faster to homes, schools and businesses almost anywhere. Spectrum policy permitting, this development promises to dramatically cut the cost of fiber-to-the-home, which today requires trenching fiber optic cable over the final 500 feet, or even longer.

Access to fiber running under a street – or to the rooftop of a fiber-fed building – becomes the jumping off point for extending fiber-fast Internet access to other locations using point-to-point or point-to-multipoint radio technologies. An example is Santa Cruz, California, where a public-private partnership is planning to extending gigabit connections to as many as 8,000 homes, businesses and city buildings using millimeter wave (mmWave) wireless technology.

Access to very wide channels of spectrum is an essential ingredient of wireless fiber. A key policy question is what spectrum works best? And what spectrum access policies are needed to unlock the tremendous potential of wireless fiber to affordably connect all of our nation’s homes, businesses and community anchor institutions?


Milo Medin
Vice President, Access Services, Google Fiber

Charla Rath
Vice President, Wireless Policy Development, Verizon

Jaime Fink
Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Mimosa Networks

Alan Norman
Public Policy Director, Facebook

Virginia Lam Abrams
Senior Vice President, Communications & Government Relations, Starry Inc.


Michael Calabrese
Director, Wireless Future Project, Open Technology Institute at New America

Lunch provided.

Live streaming of this event will be available on the New America website