Service providers will now be able to deploy fixed or mobile wireless service using spectrum in the CBRS band in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Deployments in the band are now possible because an environmental sensing capability (ESC) network is now operational in the islands.
The new capability will enable carriers to deliver high-speed broadband in rural and underserved areas of the islands and in areas where existing communications services have been disrupted by hurricanes, notes Federated Wireless, operator of the new ESC network, in a press release.
CBRS spectrum includes licensed and unlicensed spectrum between 3550 and 3700 MHz. It’s considered mid-band spectrum, which is seen as supporting the optimum mixture of speed and coverage for today’s wireless networks.
A portion of the band traditionally has been used by the military, which will continue to have priority use of that spectrum. ESC is a requirement for commercial use of the band because it detects where the military is using the spectrum and works in combination with a spectrum access system (SAS) to ensure that commercial and military users do not use the same spectrum at the same time.
The SAS works with mobile and fixed wireless network infrastructure, assigning equipment to an appropriate portion of the spectrum band.
CBRS in Puerto Rico, USVI
Depending on where they offer service, providers may have a choice of vendors for SAS and, potentially, ESC capability. Federated lays claim to being the only provider of SAS and ESC capability in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, at least for now.
One Puerto Rican service provider that is using Federated for SAS functionality is Aeronet, which won CBRS licenses in last year’s auction of spectrum in a portion of the band. Aeronet also uses Terragraph technology developed by Facebook to support high-speed fixed wireless service in old San Juan, Puerto Rico using high-frequency millimeter wave spectrum.