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Dish and nTelos Test 2.5 GHz Fixed Broadband in Rural Virginia

WAYNESBORO, VA. and ENGLEWOOD, COLO.— Dish is serving fixed wireless broadband in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The satellite TV provider is running a pilot project in Waynseboro with the local wireless telecom provider, nTelos.

“We’re using 2.5 GHz spectrum in the DRS-EBS band, which has a significant amount of capacity,” said David Zufail, vice president of wireless development for Dish.

The pilot project leverages a modem and router packed into a ruggedized chassis that is attached to the outside of a building or a structure, much the same way Dish’s parabolic TV antennas are afixed externally.

“People have tried to provide broadband in the past using these frequencies, but they’ve always gone to indoor antennas,” Zufail said. “If we go to outdoor antennas, we’re able to avoid any of the losses of going into the building and provide high-speed service to these homes.”

Dish said initial test sites are getting speeds ranging from 20 to 50 Mbps.

As part of the demonstration, nTelos and Dish have activated two wireless tower test sites in the Blue Ridge near Waynesboro and Afton, Va. Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent have provided equipment and assisted in the installation.

Dish said it has deployed BandRich ruggedized outdoor routers with built-in high-gain antennas with “significnt gain and throughput advantages over inside-the-home antenna.” Zufail noted that Dish was particularly equipped to do the installs, given its daily truck rolls.

“And because Dish has a field force of several thousand people and we visit, 10,000 homes a day,Dish is unique in that we can install television, Hopper with Sling, and Dish broadband,” he said.

Dish and nTelos have not disclosed details on the duration of the trial service or plans for expansion beyond the test sites.