High-speed broadband is making its way to rural areas and other under-served regions of the U.S. in a collaboration between Nokia and Nextlink Internet, the companies announced on Wednesday (Oct. 14).
The partnership will build and enhance networks with Nextlink’s Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum and Nokia’s Airscale 4G LTE RAN. CBRS will bring high-bandwidth internet to people who previously had limited access if any at all.
Nextlink’s new high-speed internet will be available in Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.
“In today’s world, where work-from-home and remote learning have become the norm, the broadband needs of a typical household have exploded, and peak usage patterns have shifted from the evening to the middle of the day, when multiple family members are simultaneously online,” said Nextlink Internet CEO Bill Baker.
He added that internet needs have also skyrocketed across small businesses and merchants who had to move their businesses online. Aside from eCommerce transactions and classrooms, much of the medical field also moved online with telehealth and other patient services.
Nextlink and Nokia are already in the midst of connecting as many as 25 new towers a month. The companies are also planning to retrofit existing towers with Nokia CBRS-based equipment.
“While the current pandemic has shone a spotlight on connectivity gaps across the U.S. and put increased pressure on service providers to deliver broadband service, bridging the digital divide is not a new issue,” said John Harrington, senior vice president, U.S. Major Accounts, Nokia.
He added that Nextlink is committed to bringing 5G to underserved regions. “The combination of Nokia AirScale and our CBRS expertise provides Nextlink with the scalability and flexibility to meet any need — from delivery of fixed wireless access today to 5G mobile cell service in the near future.”
The next iPhone is said to be 5G compatible, however, the technology is not yet available. That means a 5G phone on a 4G system will run like a 4G phone.
Nokia announced its plans in July to offer industrial clients 5G standalone (SA) private wireless network solutions. By implementing the new 5G services, Nokia will be enabling other partners to speed up the validation of 5G services. The goal is to boost the development of more applications and integrations of the technology.