Ideal wireless gigabit last mile solution for bridging the digital divide
The biggest obstacles in providing high speed broadband internet to all, was always access to technology and feasibility of network deployments.
In the United States of America, which is considered one of the most developed countries in the world in regard to broadband connectivity, 35 million people are without access to a state of the art connection. Australia, due to the specifics of being an “island” and other factors is even worse off than the United States. And even in Europe, with all its initiatives, there are still millions who have to live with speeds that that were considered subpar in 2008. The numbers of people living without proper access to the internet in the emerging markets of Africa, Asia and Latin America are even more critical.
Basically, the only countries that can claim to be without a real digital divide are the Baltic countries, Scandinavia, South Korea and Japan.
The main issue is, that the world is missing out on generations that could potentially make so much of difference in general quality of life. We will never know how many innovators like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk are out there. We, as humans, are the greatest potential this planet has. We should do all we can to encourage innovation and give these kids all the information they need so they can make the world a better place for the generations to come.
Wireline technologies are more or less as expensive as they ever were and still too costly to reach every human. Finally the regulators, providers and investors are turning their attention to fixed wireless as being the solution for the ever growing issue of the digital divide.
Deploying fixed wireless has its own problems though. One is that the unlicensed spectrum is getting more and more crowded and the noise in most areas is making the use of such services very limited or even unusable.
The second issue was technology. Every technology had major problems that made network deployments in underserved areas very hard and not feasible enough. Main issue always was the massive amount of transmission points that were needed due to limited numbers of connections possible, range covered and massive limitations in regard to throughput.
Deploying access points on a massive scale in order to be able to connect thousands of clients never was and still is not feasible even though the equipment is relatively cost efficient. What makes it problematic are other things like backhaul, actually leasing/acquiring towers or rooftops, service, licenses for support,… it just goes on and on.
It is no surprise then, that less than 3% of people with broadband access are getting their service via fixed wireless in the United States which is the leading country in that category.
So, are people missing out again?
They do not have to!
Regulators finally saw that they need to give access to more spectrum for fixed wireless deployments and almost in all countries around the world it is now much easier to obtain licensed spectrum then it was just 5 years ago. With the recent upgrade from DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1 a single AIR System sector antenna now has the throughput capacity of 10 Gbps and no limit apart from throughput in regard to the number of clients that can be connected.
Due to the high range of the base station, the last limiting factor is also eliminated from the equation. Range always depends on the frequency that is used and gets shorter the more the mmWave of the spectrum is approached.
As an example:
As a result, very few resources are needed to connect thousands of clients that are underserved or not connected at all, very fast and without having to get too many costly and time consuming permits etc.
Apart from the above factors, the other advantages of the system are its seamless integration into almost any environment, regardless if the technology an operator is currently using is cable, LTE, DSL,…, excellent support with a dedicated engineer, triple play and OTT support.
Arguably the AIR System is currently the best and easiest option for existing operators and greenfield investors who are looking to help in bridging the digital divide. With deployments in 3 continents including mature markets of Europe, underserved areas of North America and emerging markets in Africa, the system is proving its worth daily. We are proud that it is actively helping to bridge the massive digital divide and thus helping operators extend their footprint seamlessly, fast and economically viable but also helping the unconnected get connected and by that encourage the overall progress.