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Broadband

Mediacom adds Samsung to the fixed wireless mix

Mediacom Communications continues to spread its fixed wireless access (FWA) dollars around.

Following earlier awards to both Ericsson and Casa Systems, the cable operator has added Samsung to its stable of suppliers for a growing CBRS-based network being used to deliver high-speed Internet services to customers in rural locations.

Samsung said it's supplying Mediacom with its 4G- and 5G-ready "solutions" that will help the operator expand the reach of its FWA network. "Solutions," in this case, includes Samsung's CBRS Radio Unit, CDU50 Digital Unit and Unified Service Manager (USM), the company clarified.

Samsung said the Mediacom agreement marks its first with a cable operator that is using its CBRS products for FWA. But the vendor's handiwork is starting to show up in other areas of the bigger broadband services sector. For example, Samsung and t3 Broadband, a Kansas-based network builder, are working with Mercury Broadband to deliver FWA via CBRS in rural markets in the US Midwest.

Samsung's position at Mediacom isn't exclusive. Via earlier announced deals, Ericsson is providing Mediacom with its mix of 5G and 5G RAN products, and Casa Systems is supplying its evolved packet core (EPC) and fixed wireless access systems.

Image of the Samsung CBRS 4T4R RU being used by Mediacom for FWA.  
(Source: Samsung)
Image of the Samsung CBRS 4T4R RU being used by Mediacom for FWA.
(Source: Samsung)

Those products are helping to underpin Mediacom Bolt, a rural-focused FWA service that currently offers a set of speed tiers, starting with Internet 25 (25 Mbit/s down and 3 Mbit/s upstream) and a monthly data allowance of 400 GB, on up to Internet 100 (100 Mbit/s down by 10-20Mbit/s up) and 200 GB of monthly data, for $99.99 per month.

Mediacom is using licensed and unlicensed CBRS spectrum for its FWA product. Mediacom spent about $29.47 million for 576 CBRS licenses covering 178 counties inside the operator's cable service footprint.

Expanding FWA footprint

Mediacom's use of Samsung's products are being introduced as Mediacom expands its FWA broadband platform, starting with customers in its Midwest and Southeast regions.

Mediacom hasn't disclosed how many customers are signed up for the Bolt product, but the company confirmed the offering is currently available in parts of Alabama, Iowa, Florida, Illinois, Georgia and Minnesota. Tower installations are underway in Missouri and the operator is evaluating tower locations in Indiana, a Mediacom spokesperson told Light Reading.

"By combining Samsung’s broad experience in wireless networks with our commitment to bringing broadband to smaller U.S. markets, we will be able to quickly and efficiently deliver quality broadband services to more consumers in underserved areas," JR Walden, Mediacom's CTO, said in a statement.

Looking beyond FWA, Mediacom is also exploring ways to break into the mobile services market through an MVNO deal.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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