UScellular announces major breakthrough in addressing digital divide issue

UScellular, which counts Knoxville as one of its first markets when it launched service here in June 1985, has been a partner in a telecommunications technology development project that can help address the issue of access to high-speed internet in a number of communities, particularly those in more rural areas.

The nation’s fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier joined with Qualcomm Technologies Inc., Ericsson, and Inseego in a test earlier this month that successfully achieved what is described as “a 5G extended-range milestone over millimeter Wave (mmWave)” utilizing UScellular’s commercial network in Janesville, WI.

According to this news release (USCC 5G mmWave Test USCC Press Release) from the Chicago-based corporation, the milestone was accomplished at a distance of 7 km, the farthest 5G mmWave Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) connection in the U.S., with sustained average downlink speeds of about 1 Gbps, sustained average uplink speeds of about 55 Mbps and instantaneous peak downlink speeds recorded at greater than 2 Gbps. Additionally, at a distance of 1.75 km with no line of sight, the companies achieved sustained average downlink speeds of about 730 Mbps and sustained average uplink speeds of about 38 Mbps.

If you are not a telecommunications expert, you might be asking, “What does all of that mean?” We posed that question to Nathan Waddell, UScellular’s Director of Sales for East Tennessee. He started by saying that “every household and business deserves access to high-speed internet,” and the recent test validates that the technology can be used to address the proverbial “last mile” to deliver high-speed internet to more customers.

Noting its massive capacity, in particular achieving gigabit speeds over this long range, UScellular says 5G mmWave is a robust and crucial solution to meet increasing traffic demand and expand broadband services to homes as well as institutions such as schools, libraries, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. FWA provides the bandwidth required to support high-definition video streaming that can improve remote education and healthcare experiences in suburban and rural environments.

“We’re connecting people with this technology to what is important to them,” Waddell added. “It’s a breakthrough in technology.”

The new service is not yet available in the Knoxville market.



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