No One Should Be Overbuilt by BEAD

By David Island

As the next BDC reporting date comes closer, I want to revisit a few questions that I am still often asked. (Note that I am not attempting to write a technical paper on the nuances of the BDC reporting and challenge process, my aim is to highlight a couple of key components.)

First is the issue of “reliable service.” BDC rules define an area as “covered” by fixed wireless if the spectrum used is “licensed.” They further define CBRS as licensed by rule Technology Code 72 which says, “a service using entirely licensed-by-rule spectrum or a hybrid of licensed-by-rule and unlicensed spectrum.”

Second, the service provider must be able to deliver 100/20 Mbps and must identify the locations in areas where they have actually built out their broadband network infrastructure and to which they either currently provide service or could perform a standard broadband installation.

A standard installation is defined in the Broadband DATA Act as “[t]he initiation by a provider of fixed broadband internet access service [within 10 business days of a request] in an area in which the provider has not previously offered that service, with no charges or delays attributable to the extension of the network of the provider.”

Okay, so what does this mean? Like most FCC rules, it is subject to interpretation.

Let’s review the basics: If you deploy a CBRS access point (like a low-cost Cambium 450i) on a tower, you have effectively covered an area. Cambium’s cnHeat RF planning tool can help with coverage maps and the reporting of this coverage in the BDC.

The coverage is important because this area will now be designated as “reliable” following the next BDC submission date, and thus not eligible for BEAD funding.

What it doesn’t mean is that you have to be able to deliver 100/20 Mbps to every location all the time. You only have to deliver the service within 10 business days of it being requested.

It also doesn’t mean that you have to deliver the service with CBRS. As noted above, a hybrid offering is allowed. If you are requested to deliver or challenged by a location, a simple PTP or PMP 5 GHz link, a 6 GHz PTP link, or even a 60 GHz PTP link is allowed. So, you don’t have to be concerned if your CBRS overlay radios have enough capacity; the network is allowed to be fluid and dynamic.

Don’t let your fixed wireless network be overbuilt by federal funds. Fight back using the wireless tools available today.

Cambium Networks can show you how.


Published May 28, 2024