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Enabling Small Cells in Rural America

View the original article published on AGL Media Group:

Rural agricultural communities are demanding high-capacity, low-latency network services to support bandwidth-intensive applications used in various operations, including water supply management, precision agriculture and food production.

Major metropolitan areas across the country are turning to cutting-edge technologies and solutions for advanced connectivity to satisfy the demands of increased data traffic and bandwidth-intensive content. Small cells have afforded these Tier I markets the ability to increase network capacity and available frequencies throughout a given area, and with 5G technology waiting in the wings, companies and end-users located in these cities find themselves in an optimal position to enjoy continuous, high-quality connectivity services. However, take a step outside of these major metro areas and you’ll see an entirely different picture.

Some 19 million Americans still don’t have access to high-speed broadband internet service, most of whom reside in rural communities. We see two possible solutions for this issue. First, network service providers can deploy fiber in strategic positions closer to rural areas, delivering the necessary backhaul connectivity for 5G technology enablement and small cell deployment throughout agricultural communities. The second solution is to deploy fixed wireless combined with 5G. Either solution will pave the way and enable rural areas to get the data speeds they need, even where communities are small.

The Rural Small Cell Future

The initial demand for small cells and 5G technology began in the most densely-populated regions of the United States. Meanwhile, rural areas, namely Tier II, III and IV markets, are finding themselves in greater need of connectivity solutions designed to serve a growing number of connected devices and bandwidth-intensive content and applications. For wireless carriers to extend their services throughout underserved markets with small cell deployment or 5G connectivity, network infrastructure and service providers must be willing and able to support these advanced technologies. Some wireless carriers in rural areas depend on regional transport providers to connect their networks with rural cell site locations.

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