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Fixed Wireless Revival: Windstream Eyes New Multi-Megabit Markets in US

Dan Jones

Windstream is going to use millimeter wave radio technology to deploy or update fixed wireless networks in up to 72 markets in the US.

Windstream Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WIN) is using 39GHz VectaStar radios from Cambridge Broaband Networks (CBNL) and 39GHz spectrum from Straight Path Communications Inc. Windstream will use the point-to-multipoint (PMP) radios to expand its last-mile capabilities in 40 cities to begin with. (See CBNL Boasts PMP Backhaul Lead and Windstream BOBs for Fixed Wireless Broadband.)

Windstream will enhance seven of its markets where it already has fixed wireless access technology: Chicago, New York City, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Little Rock. Windstream will also deploy the fixed wireless technology in 33 markets. These include Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Richmond, San Antonio, Seattle and St. Louis.

Windstream has the option of eventually expanding fixed wireless to an additional 32 markets where Straight Path owns 39GHz spectrum. Windstream is already CNBL's 28GHz radios and Straight Path spectrum for fixed wireless service in NYC.

"This new technology will allow Windstream customers to access the company's advanced data, voice, network and cloud services at speeds of up to 275 [Mbit/s] full duplex," the service provider said in a statement.

The deal is interesting because it is a kind of precursor to the fixed 5G wireless that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is planning. Big Red is planning a 1 Gbit/s-plus 5G service that it will deploy using 28GHz -- and with access to 39GHz spectrum -- from XO Communications Inc. (See Verizon Bags XO for $1.8B.)

For all the latest news on 5G, visit the 5G site here on Light Reading.

As we've previously reported, the rival of mmWave -- previously auctioned as LMDS bandwidth -- for fixed broadband or proto-5G services all appears to be pushing towards a fixed wireless revival in the US and beyond. (See The Return of Fixed Wireless Access and 5G: The Fixed [Wireless] Is In!)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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10/12/2016 | 3:01:36 PM
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