5G and Beyond

Starry gears up for 24GHz deployment, after T-Mobile allows tests

Fixed wireless Internet provider Starry told the FCC that it's preparing to test the "final performance" of its equipment operating in the 24GHz spectrum band, and that its next steps will be "final certification and deployment."

However, the company did not respond to questions from Light Reading about when it might start that deployment.

Nonetheless, Starry's filing with the FCC appears to indicate the company is making quick progress on the upgrade and expansion of its fixed wireless efforts.

Starry's existing fixed wireless markets – Denver; Los Angeles; New York; Washington, DC; and Boston – use shared-spectrum licenses in the 37GHz band. However, Starry in 2019 spent $48 million on 104 licenses in the 24GHz spectrum band covering roughly 51 markets in 25 states. Combining those 24GHz licenses with Starry's 37GHz holdings would cover a total of 40 million US households, according to the company.

Now, it appears Starry is moving toward that goal. The company told the FCC it built its own equipment for transmissions in the 24GHz band, and that it wants to test that equipment across three locations in Boston, where its headquarters are located.

Starry said it obtained permission from T-Mobile to conduct its tests in Boston. "Starry does not currently hold 24GHz licenses in the Boston ... area. Starry has notified the licensed user of the spectrum in the test area (T-Mobile) who has not objected to these tests," the company told the FCC.

However, Starry's ultimate ambitions appear to stretch beyond even those efforts. The company won $269 million in funding in the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction last year. As a result, it's now on the hook to construct telecom services across more than 100,000 rural locations in nine states.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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