wirelessSmaller, more rural wireless carriers wanting to deploy service in the CBRS band could find that task a bit easier now that Associated Carrier Group has selected Google to provide CBRS spectrum access system (SAS) services.

The CBRS band includes spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band that is available for fixed and mobile wireless use on a shared basis with incumbent military users. SAS technology is designed to ensure that commercial users are assigned to spectrum that is not in use by the military.

Google is one of several companies that have been approved as SAS providers. ACG is a member organization that works with manufacturers and other vendors to obtain equipment for its 36 members, who are smaller wireless carriers.

The CBRS band is considered “mid-band” spectrum, which some stakeholders see offering the optimum mixture of speed and coverage.

CBRS Spectrum Access System Services
Many of ACG’s members offer mobile service but ACG President and Executive Director Russ Lipinski said in an email to Telecompetitor that although the offering can be used with fixed or mobile service, he expects to see it used initially to support fixed wireless service.

The Google offering will enable ACG members to use CBRS equipment that can use Google for SAS functionality.

“Equipment providers . . . test and certify with SAS providers to give carriers confidence that if you purchase from them and pick one of the SAS providers they certified with that it should work,” Lipinski explained.

Smaller rural service providers have been CBRS pioneers and have deployed fixed wireless in a portion of the CBRS band that has been available for unlicensed use for years. Now that the FCC has expanded the band, these providers will now be able to offer faster service by using a broader portion of the band.

In a press release, ACG noted that it expects to see the CBRS band support speeds of 50-100 Mbps.

Recently, some providers, including Verizon, have been getting set to support mobile service in the band by using it on an unlicensed basis in combination with other spectrum.

Plans are in place to license a portion of the CBRS band, with an auction scheduled to begin in June 2020.

Image courtesy of flickr user FutUndBeidl.

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