Kids on computer

DigitalC, a Cleveland non-profit organization, plans to use private LTE to support an internet service in low-income areas of the city. The offering will use spectrum in the CBRS band.

With private LTE, a network operator or enterprise installs its own base stations that are separate from public LTE networks. To support service, DigitalC is using Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud (DAC) offering, which includes indoor and outdoor customer premises equipment, a network core and radio access.

The CBRS band is mid-band spectrum that many see as offering the optimum mixture of speed and coverage. The band includes licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

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A Nokia press release outlining the DigitalC plans did not indicate whether the spectrum DigitalC plans to use is licensed or unlicensed and Telecompetitor was unable to reach Nokia at the phone number or email provided in the press release to ask for additional details.

In 2018, DigitalC used equipment to support a fixed wireless trial using equipment from Siklu.

According to the DigitalC website, the organization already offers internet service in some areas of greater Cleveland at speeds up to 50 Mbps for $18 a month. It isn’t clear what equipment the organization is using to support that offering.

Today’s announcement did not specify the speeds that the Nokia private LTE offering will support or what DigitalC will charge for it.

According to the release, the Nokia private LTE offering provides “plug-and-play private wireless where it is too difficult or costly to establish traditional connectivity.”

Fixed wireless broadband internet traditionally has been used most heavily in rural areas that lack high-speed wired offerings. But the DigitalC news suggests that the technology also could make sense in some urban areas.

In July, DigitalC received a $20 million grant from the Mandel and Myers Foundation to cover some of its network costs, which are estimated at $60 million to cover the entire city.

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