Digital Divide

The Divide: Vistabeam's Matt Larsen on the reliability of wireless and pitfalls of federal funding

This episode features Matt Larsen, CEO of Vistabeam, a fixed wireless provider covering underserved areas of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. He joins the podcast to discuss the important role of fixed wireless and unlicensed spectrum in reaching underserved and unserved US populations. We also get into the role of federal funding in closing the digital divide, and why Larsen thinks more funding could negatively impact broadband expansion in the US.

He also refutes the idea that fixed wireless isn't "future proof" technology.

"Anybody that thinks fixed wireless isn't reliable, bring it on," says Larsen. "Cable guys, fiber guys, put your network information out there. Let's see what your information looks like compared to unlicensed [spectrum], and let's compare empirical data and not feelings."

Here are just a few topics discussed in this episode:

  • Background on Vistabeam and its service areas (01:00)
  • How Vistabeam's offerings compare to fiber services (05:05)
  • Role of federal funds in Vistabeam's growth and why Larsen favors the CARES Act to other programs (06:55)
  • His defense of fixed wireless as "future-proof" technology (14:47)
  • The role of unlicensed spectrum in closing the digital divide (16:40)
  • Larsen's concerns about the FCC broadband mapping effort (20:14)

Related stories and links:

Nicole Ferraro, senior editor, global broadband coverage, Light Reading. Host of "​​The Divide" on the Light Reading Podcast.

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