US cableco Midco has teamed up with Telrad Networks to successfully test 5GHz LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) technology in rural North Dakota and Minnesota. The trial augments the duo’s previous fixed-wireless access (FWA) tests, which focused on the deployment of 3.5GHz TD-LTE spectrum. Midco is committed to closing the digital divide by bringing high speed, low-latency connectivity to rural America, with CTO Jon Pederson commenting: ‘We’re committed to providing 100Mbps/20Mbps service packages to our customers in rural areas. The testing we have conducted with Telrad’s 5GHz LTE-U solution demonstrated that we can serve our customers with high speed broadband in near-line of sight conditions over several miles.’
Founded in 1931, Midco now serves 385,000 homes and business in more than 400 communities in Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. By 2025, Midco says it will deploy 10Gbps-capable networks, while also expanding its FWA network to rural areas.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in February 2017 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took steps to authorise LTE-U devices in the 5GHz band. LTE-U devices and equipment intelligently tap into and share underutilised unlicensed spectrum without affecting other users on the same band, including those using conventional Wi-Fi services.