Last week, the FCC approved initial commercial deployments for select spectrum access system (SAS) providers in the 3.5 GHz CBRS band. This is especially exciting for businesses requiring advanced connectivity and data-loving consumers, because as more personal devices accommodate the CBRS spectrum – think, the Apple iPhone 11 CBRS announcement – consumers can expect enhanced coverage and capacity on their networks.

CBRS presents benefits for mobile network operators, real estate owners, enterprise businesses and consumers alike. It’s a value driver for anyone invested in the future of wireless connectivity. The neutral host provider plays a key role in the design, build and operation of the advanced network utilizing CBRS shared spectrum.

3 Reasons why CBRS is such a big deal

A)     Segway to Private Networks: CBRS is a shared mid-band spectrum and it’s now available for entities like property owners, businesses and other large enterprise multi-building complexes to create private networks while simultaneously interconnecting to the MNO’s public networks. It also creates greater potential for secured wireless networks versus WiFi. In an era where fast, clear communication is a must for consumers, businesses, and first responders, the ability to use carrier-class networks is clearly a winning value proposition.

B)     Bridge the digital divide in rural areasCBRS helps bridge the digital divide in rural areas. Our team at ExteNet Systems was one of the first infrastructure providers to deploy CBRS (Part 90) with rural wireless internet service providers. We are now working on upgrading them to commercial CBRS. Spanning back to 2017, our deployments in areas such as northeastern Georgia, southeastern Washington, western Colorado and more proved the band’s viability inland for reaching areas where wireless service would otherwise be difficult to extend. Through this work, we’ve helped provide faster broadband speeds to countless communities – improving quality of life through Internet access to education, businesses and so much more.

C)     Creating a pathway for Neutral Host Networks: Multiple providers can be hosted on a common CBRS network infrastructure and managed by the neutral host provider in a cost-effective manner benefiting everyone involved.

So, what’s next? 

Developing credible use cases that can leverage this new shared spectrum is the next step.

CBRS can be enabled both outdoors and inside buildings and it’s a critical milestone in the ongoing 5G and IoT revolution. CBRS will propel the industry into a new frontier where communities and real estate owner will benefit from private LTE and private 5G networks.

Additionally, CBRS is a capacity boost for the MNOs as they will increasingly utilize this spectrum to offload network traffic creating a trifecta effect of CBRS spectrum users everywhere – carriers, businesses and consumers. The upcoming June 2020 auction will help the MNOs get access to this “beachfront” mid-band spectrum and I expect MNOs to actively bid. Additionally, I am expecting cable operators to also use this spectrum as it provides a carrier-class option to their existing WiFi architecture.

On our part, while helping transition our pre-CBRS customers and nearly 2000 CBRS-ready node sites to commercial CBRS today, our Team ExteNet continues to trial numerous indoor private LTE deployments in a wide spectrum of use cases including commercial offices, sports venues and industrial buildings as we truly believe in the game changing attributes of CBRS.