Case Study on WISPS (Midco) also serves as a broadband primer

The Global Cities Challenge (GCTC) program is a collaborative platform for the development of smart cities and communities, led by National Institute of Standards and Technology, a bureau of U.S. Department of Commerce, in partnership with other U.S. federal agencies. It looks like one outcome of the challenge is a paper on WISPs (wireless internet service providers) – mostly on Midco.

I won’t go into the case study too much but there are elements that serve as an easy-to-read primer that would be helpful to anyone new-ish to the broadband world or anyone who need to help someone better understand the impact or broadband. Fr example, the new report gives a quick snapshot on the different broadband options…

Broadband connectivity can be provided by a variety of technologies. Each platform can offer unique attributes to meet specific needs. Wired networks boast security and resilience; fiber optics are often referred to as “future proof,” referring to the ability to increase capacity by adding electronic components at the physical ends of the fiber. Fixed wireless networks (described more fully in the Midco case study below) allow fiber providers to “edge out” their fiber connectivity by deploying fixed wireless equipment on local grain elevators, water towers, commercial towers, tall buildings, etc. and then backhauling that traffic to the fiber network. At the same time, mobile wireless technologies are necessary to support critical applications “on the move.” Mobile and fixed broadband services work in concert to provide comprehensive access to critical applications that support rural economic development, education and health care. As noted by the FCC, fixed and mobile broadband services, while not full substitutes for each other, are each “important services that provide different functionalities, tailored to serve different consumer needs.”4 The FCC has concluded that consumers require access to both wired and mobile services.5 However, even where a predominantly wireless solution may be a preferred solution due to terrain or other factors, wireless networks at their core require a wired infrastructure to convey traffic.6 Properly drafted policies can account for the need for both wired and wireless technologies, and can provide much-needed connectivity to rural America.

It then goes into detail on the impact on various aspects of life – healthcare, work , economic development and more. And of course you can learn a lot more about fixed wireless in the report. BUT sometimes I think these quick intros that provider very high level descriptions can be super useful.

This entry was posted in Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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