It’s easy to find people that don’t trust DISH Network’s Charlie Ergen, but it’s hard not to get titillated by some of the technology plays that he brings to Sprint and Clearwire. To Sprint, he brings a multimedia package – mobile and fixed video, voice, and data. Additionally, his company brings a fixed-broadband wireless play using spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band, which would complement the spectrum holdings of both Sprint and Clearwire.
The week, DISH and nTelos Wireless, a rural wireless provider, announced the commencement of a fixed broadband wireless test in rural Virginia using LTE technology, with speeds ranging from 20 Mbps to more than 50 Mbps.
As part of the demonstration, two wireless tower test sites were activated in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Waynesboro and Afton, Va. BandRich ruggedized outdoor routers with built-in high-gain antennas were installed on the roofs of the homes to receive the signal. Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent provided equipment and assisted in the installation.
The final story has yet to be written of the DISH/Sprint/Clearwire/Softbank merger-palooza. But with a significant portion of households in rural America underserved by wireline broadband, a fixed wireless LTE solution just might find a home in the country, no matter who provides it.