CommScope: Expanding Rural Availability of FWA Connectivity


Spotlight on Rural Connectivity |

Driving innovation in the rural connectivity space, CommScope is enabling improved connectivity for rural communities by expanding rural availability of Fixed Wireless Access broadband.

Dave Wright, Head of Spectrum Policy & Standards, CommScope speaks with Zia Askari from about the company’s focus towards driving rural connectivity and how it is bringing innovations in this space.

What are some of the big priorities that CommScope has towards driving connectivity for Rural Communities?

Some big priorities that CommScope has driven towards improving connectivity for rural communities include: providing the foundation for service providers to utilize wireless to expand the rural availability of Fixed Wireless Access broadband connectivity, advocating for the modernization of the Universal Service Fund to enable its long-term sustainability, and ensuring rural connectivity delivers low latency alongside fast speeds.

How is CommScope enabling its customers towards driving Rural Connectivity today? What are some of the important communication technologies at play in this space?

CommScope has been enabling cable operators to effectively use the newly available Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) and supports the recently auctioned C-Band frequencies with 5G NR radios to provide future-ready wireless connectivity in locations where wired broadband is difficult or there is little competition.

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) has the potential to greatly expand the ability of cable operators to deliver affordable, high-speed broadband or to increase competition in servicing more sparsely populated communities across the United States.

Please share details on some of the Rural Deployments that CommScope has done along with its customers recently?

CommScope recently worked with rural fiber-optic network design and construction management firm Conexon to deliver leading fiber-optic cable and connectivity products for electric cooperatives.

Specifically, CommScope and Conexon are working with seven Mississippi electric power associations (EPAs) receiving a combined $30 million in CARES Act grant funding to fast-start FTTH construction in unserved and underserved areas.

Also, in one Texas community with no wired Internet, no landline options, and questionable cellular coverage, CommScope in conjunction with wireless Internet service provider (WISP) Nextwave Wireless, built a Wi-Fi homework hotspot.

Nextwave provided a WAN backdrop at a community center utilizing a RUCKUS access point (AP). The pavilion, which seats about 200 family style at tables, is a place for neighborhood gatherings – chili cookoffs, meetings, and the like.

What kind of technology-led innovations are being driven by CommScope in this space?

If current cable operators aren’t prioritizing reducing latency, the networks that are being architected today will not be able to support many of the new applications of tomorrow. To this, technologies such as edge compute and network slicing, which CommScope provides support for, will be needed to make the future applications work, especially for rural communities who otherwise would be limited by servers sitting hundreds of miles away.

It would be unwise if, knowing what they know today, cable operators build networks that result in a new rural digital divide – one caused by high latency rather than slow speeds – in the future.

How do you look at OpenRAN as a key technology enabler to drive Rural Connectivity? What is CommScope doing to adopt OpenRAN?

Open RAN promotes a sustainable, innovative and continuously evolving multivendor RAN ecosystem. In turn, this dynamic ecosystem encourages the adoption of next-generation applications and services that enable new businesses models and revenue streams.

As a founding member of the Open RAN Policy Coalition and a key contributor to the O-RAN Alliance, CommScope is committed to advancing Open RAN in the marketplace to drive innovation and bring 5G benefits faster to end users.