Data Stream Broadband, a Florida based rural WISP, is adding 5G capability in parts of rural Virginia using Ericsson equipment. Data Stream intends to partner with Spotsylvania county for a 5G proof of concept trial with the deployment.
Data Stream already provides fixed wireless service throughout rural communities in Northern Virginia, including Fauquier, Spotsylvania, Culpeper, and Prince William counties. It began operations in Fauquier County in June 2019, a company spokesman tells Telecompetitor.
The WISP currently offers broadband tiers ranging from 10/1 Mbps up to 75/5 Mbps, depending on location. Pricing ranges from $50/month up to $180/month. Data Stream also offers voice services and whole-home Wi-Fi.
The rural WISP 5G expansion will rely on Massive MIMO radios provided by Ericsson and will utilize CBRS spectrum. The plan is to initially trial the service as a fixed wireless service, but to eventually add a 5G Mobility layer during the rest of the build-out, the spokesman said.
“In partnership with Spotsylvania County, Data Stream is making significant investments in its network capacity to keep pace with customers’ needs today and in the future,” said Sean Lee, President and CEO of Data Stream in a press release. “Our rural 5G wireless network will not only benefit customers, but will create jobs, spur innovation and invigorate rural communities across Virginia. We’re ready to get to work.”
Data Stream Broadband will partner with Spotsylvania County on the project and will act as the county’s strategic partner for federal, state and local funding programs, according to the spokesman.
“Our society expects that internet access be considered the same as any other utility and available to everyone,” said Kevin Marshall, Chairman of the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors in the press release. “This 5G high-speed service is a step in the right direction and will help bridge the last-mile gap for our rural communities, ensuring that all residents have access to the internet for work and school.”
CBRS holds a lot of promise for both rural WISPs and 5G. Some WISPs have seen broadband performance of 100 Mbps for up to six miles.
Xtreme LTE is also a technology partner, offering a range of networking and integration solutions. Ericsson and Xtreme LTE have partnered for rural WISP and 5G deployments.