Tarana Wireless

While some fixed wireless access (FWA) providers are shifting more toward fiber broadband, one FWA provider that continues to have big plans for FWA is Watch Communications, a Microsoft Airband partner that was also the biggest winner in the 2018 Connect America Fund (CAF II) auction.

The service provider said today that it will deploy Tarana’s G1 FWA access platform to about 1.4 million addresses by the end of the year in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

The technology will provide 400 Mbps service even in non-line-of-site scenarios and will utilize unlicensed spectrum, Watch said. Previously, many legacy subscribers were limited to service plans between 5 Mbps and 25 Mbps.

Watch Communications is one of more than 250 ISPs that have adopted G1 since it was launched late in 2021, according to a press release.

Watch Communications, which is the largest business unit of the Benton Ridge Telephone company, was the biggest winner in the Connect America Fund II auction. It won more than $52 million into the auction. At the time, the company said it would use the funding to reach 24,000 additional locations. It had about 20,000 subscribers at the time and was seeing take rates as high as 60% in communities it serves.

Watch Communications announced acquisitions and partnerships in 2020, two years after the CAF II auction wins.

  • October, the company acquired West Central Ohio Internet Link (WCOIL), an ISP that provides Internet services, business telephone services, managed IT, cybersecurity, business and residential security and fire systems and other services.
  • In March, the company acquired Q Wireless, which added about 2,000 residential customers in western Kentucky and southeastern Indiana.
  • In January Watch Communications acquired Sit-CO, a fiber and fixed wireless broadband provider based in Evansville, IN.

In July 2019, Watch Communications joined the Microsoft Airband partnership. Airband partners received technology expertise and discounts, and sometimes funding, from Microsoft to bring service to unserved and underserved rural areas.

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