Crossroads Wi-Fi Providing Broadband Across Rural Tennessee
Last week, WISPA’s CEO Claude Aiken testified before the House Communications Subcommittee on how fixed wireless broadband providers are closing the digital divide. During his testimony, Aiken told Rep. Marsha Blackburn the story of WISPA member Crossroads Wi-Fi, a small fixed wireless broadband provider that played a large part in transforming Lone Oaks Farm into a major facility within the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture.
Like many WISPA members, Crossroads Wi-Fi is a small provider with 3 employees and fewer than 1000 customers. But that hasn’t stopped the company from delivering big results, including free broadband service for police and fire stations, schools, and other vital institutions within their community. A local police chief attributed a 17 percent crime rate drop primarily to the key “hotspots” that were installed by Crossroads Wi-Fi across town.
In a small market with no subsidies, Crossroads Wi-Fi still operates in the black – a testament to the cost-effectiveness of fixed wireless broadband service.
But, Crossroads wouldn’t be able to provide this service without the use of CBRS spectrum. In a recent letter to the FCC, Crossroads Wi-Fi said that without census-tract-sized licenses, it would not be able to compete for licenses to provide more robust service to Middleton, TN and its surrounding communities.
The story of Crossroads Wi-Fi is just one of many that demonstrate the need for a balanced spectrum policy that puts rural Americans on par with those in urban areas. Fixed wireless providers have potential customers within range of their towers, but insufficient spectrum to provide service. With the right policies in place, they are prepared to quickly and efficiently deploy with their own capital, but they need the spectrum to do so.
If you haven’t already, be sure to read Claude’s latest op-ed on this issue here.