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Many Facets of Wireless Industry Join to Celebrate Launch of OnGo Using Mid-Band Spectrum

Masha Abarinova

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Photo of CBRS's OnGo launch by Masha Abarinova

WASHINGTON, September 18, 2019 - Leaders from the telecom industry gathered on Wednesday for the commercial service launch of OnGo, the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service. OnGo officials touted their offering as a new type of spectrum sharing that will bring more Americans online.

Officials from the Federal Communications Commission were present at the launch. Without the collaboration between the public and private sector, the agency and industry could not celebrate this initial commercial deployment of CBRS technology, said FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly.

The relevant stakeholders in industry and the federal government were able to form a new sharing paradigm that not only protects incumbents, but also contemplates licensed and unlicensed spectrum for next-generation wireless service, he said.

Wednesday’s commercial deployments will serve as the ultimate proof of concept, he said. Soon even more spectrum will be needed to meet the growing demand for wireless service.

Claude Aiken, president of the Wireless Service Provider’s Association, called OnGo’s deployment an important milestone. The CBRS band’s “use it or share it” approach boosts spectrum output by making more effective use of it.

Broadband has become an essential part of all Americans’ livesAiken he said. Spectrum represents an important answer to getting Americans online no matter where they live.

OnGo represents a milestone for the telecom industry, said Craig Cowden, senior vice president of Wireless Technology at Charter Communications. He said he looks forward to seeing how this spectrum sharing facilitates small-cell buildout.

With all the hype surrounding 5G, Cowden said, it’s important to revolutionize the efficient use of spectrum.

The ability to quickly deploy a wireless network is just one of OnGo’s advantages, said Hank Hultquist, vice president of Federal Regulatory at AT&T.

Adam Koeppe, senior vice president for technology strategy and planning at Verizon, highlighted the value of the CBRS band as 5G approaches public deployment.

Mobile usage is driving data needs to unprecedented levels, he said. OnGo will be great for increasing 4G capacity as well as setting a precedent for future spectrum sharing.

CBRS is a good way to share spectrum to its users and make sure that it’s tailored to their needs, he said, praising the extensive work by numerous partners leading to Wednesday’s launch.

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