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Spectrum Policy

Launching Consumer Trial of CBRS in Davidson County, North Carolina

October 17, 2019

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Broadband can provide life-changing opportunities and Charter is continually investing in our network to deliver faster and better broadband to more people in more places, whether they live in big cities or rural America. Part of those investments include conducting trials of new and innovative technologies that will enhance connectivity and provide opportunities for consumers, businesses and our economy in the years to come.

In trials across the country, Charter has been exploring fixed and mobile wireless access technologies using 3.5 GHz (CBRS) spectrum. We have done mobility trials aimed at enhancing the performance of our growing mobile service and our fixed trials have been focused on developing a rural broadband solution. More specifically, we believe fixed wireless technology using mid-band spectrum could provide wireline-like broadband connectivity to homes and businesses in more rural areas that are oftentimes harder to reach and much more costly to serve.

At a very high level, here is how it works. Instead of having to build out our physical network over significant distances to serve customers in less densely populated areas, we would use towers, spectrum and wireless technologies to extend the reach of our broadband network miles beyond where we have actual physical plant. The technical trials we have conducted to date, which have taken place in cities like Lexington, KY, Bakersfield, CA and Coldwater, MI, have seen promising results with broadband speeds that surpass 25 Mbps/3Mbps, the FCC’s definition of high-speed broadband.

We recently kicked off the most exciting phase of our fixed wireless testing in Davidson County, NC: a market trial in which we are signing up subscribers to test the ability of this innovative wireless technology to deliver broadband to consumers’ homes. The results of these trials, both in terms of technical performance and the operational processes involved with rolling out this kind of service, will help determine the feasibility of future commercial deployments.

For now, we are excited to be working on the ground in Davidson County. We appreciate the participation of those in the trial and look forward to learning from their experiences.