Spectrum Sharing Creates New Business Opportunities for Rural Telecom Operators

The Citizens Broadband Radio Service spectrum sharing will create new opportunities for rural telecom operators to offer carrier-grade fixed wireless service that will improve broadband coverage in rural America, according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.

The availability of the unlicensed mid-band spectrum suitable for rural use, scheduled to go live this summer, is expected to reduce the barriers to entry for new wireless internet service providers, rural local exchange carriers and electric distributor cooperatives to deploy carrier-grade fixed wireless without having to invest in licensed spectrum. According to the report, widespread adoption of the band by tier one wireless operators will create a robust ecosystem of hardware and software, which will help operators reduce deployment costs while creating a better, faster experience for consumers in their coverage areas.

“The shared nature of the CBRS band and the amount of data capacity it can support offer some intriguing business models and a platform to expand fixed wireless coverage in rural America,” said Jeff Johnston, lead economist with CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “Rural operators should deploy the technology where it’s not economically feasible to deploy fiber, and in doing so will help bridge the digital divide by expanding their footprint.”

A video synopsis and the full report, “Spectrum Sharing Shows Promise for Broadband Access in Rural America,” are available at cobank.com.

About CoBank

CoBank is a $138 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides commercial loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 70,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country.

CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture, rural infrastructure and rural communities. Headquartered outside Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and also maintains an international representative office in Singapore.

For more information about CoBank, visit the bank's website at cobank.com.

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