Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has reached an agreement with Newport Utilities to build a rural fixed wireless access (FWA) network in northeast Tennessee.
Sixty percent of school age children in the community Newport Utilities serves do not have high-speed Internet at home, and the project is intended to bring high speed broadband to an underserved portion of the state.
Chris Calhoun, broadband manager for Newport Utilities, said: "This partnership helps close the gaps in terms of Internet access in underserved communities. We're thrilled to partner with Ericsson to bring best-in-class fixed wireless to this region."
Newport Utilities currently provides fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service to broadband customers in the area and plans to use Ericsson FWA to augment that offering to serve areas difficult to reach with fiber. The FWA solution will leverage 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum and Ericsson's 64T64R Massive MIMO technology from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio.
Rob Johnson, head of Customer Unit Regional Carriers for Ericsson North America, said: "Fixed wireless access can be a solution in places where wired Internet is a challenge geographically. The project became not only a first in the utility industry, but a passion project for Ericsson to help connect the unconnected and close the homework gap."
In addition to building the network, Ericsson will operate the network for the first year while providing transfer services to the Newport team so they can eventually take on the management of the FWA network.