5G FWA offers a “future-proof”, rapidly deployable, and cost-effective option to help close the digital divide as federal and state policymakers implement historic broadband infrastructure funding programs enacted by Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C.; Nov. 18, 2021 – 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) services could serve 8.4 million rural households—nearly half the rural homes in the U.S.—with a “future-proof”, rapidly deployable, and cost-effective high-speed broadband option, according to a new Accenture (NYSE: ACN) study commissioned by CTIA, the wireless industry association.
“These findings underscore the value of U.S. infrastructure policy embracing both wired and 5G fixed wireless home broadband solutions to help connect the unconnected as fast as possible, particularly in more rural areas,” CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker said. “As federal and state policymakers implement the historic broadband infrastructure funding programs, 5G to the home services represent a dynamic and cost-effective high-speed connectivity option.”
The report, titled 5G Fixed Wireless Broadband: Helping Close the Digital Divide in Rural America, discusses how 5G FWA services can quickly and cost-effectively bring high-speed broadband to 8.4 million households in rural parts of the country. With the federal government and states poised to implement $65 billion in broadband infrastructure programs geared toward bridging the digital divide, policymakers should recognize the capabilities of 5G FWA connectivity.
“5G has transformed FWA into a truly viable home broadband option,” said Tejas Rao, a managing director in Accenture Cloud First’s wireless services practice. “Our analysis shows that 5G FWA can offer rural Americans the broadband speeds and capacity to meet the home internet demands of millions of these unserved and underserved consumers.”
By using wireless links between fixed points — a nearby tower and an antenna on a consumers’ residence — 5G FWA provides high bandwidth broadband connections wirelessly instead of through a wired cable connection.
“With lower costs-to-serve and streamlined deployment timelines, 5G-powered FWA can help solve the ‘last-mile’ challenges often encountered in bringing home broadband services to many areas of the U.S.,” added Peters Suh, Accenture’s North America Communications & Media lead.
The report also discusses how 5G FWA offers benefits for both mobile rural connectivity and home broadband services. Accenture also identifies additional licensed spectrum, particularly in the mid-band range, along with stable, nationwide regulatory frameworks that incentivize the efficient buildout of network infrastructure, as key to bringing 5G FWA to even more U.S. consumers in the future.
A copy of the report can be downloaded here.
About the Report Methodology:
Increased service was determined based on the potential economic feasibility of market entry. Estimates for market size, potential operating costs, and the capital investment to deploy were developed for target rural markets. “Rural”, for the purposes of this analysis, were defined as communities within Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCA), codes 4-10.
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CTIA® (www.ctia.org) represents the U.S. wireless communications industry and the companies throughout the mobile ecosystem that enable Americans to lead a 21st century connected life. The association’s members include wireless carriers, device manufacturers, suppliers as well as apps and content companies. CTIA vigorously advocates at all levels of government for policies that foster continued wireless innovation and investment. The association also coordinates the industry’s voluntary best practices, hosts educational events that promote the wireless industry and co-produces the industry’s leading wireless tradeshow. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.