ZIRKEL Wireless: Rural areas deserve broadband | SteamboatToday.com

ZIRKEL Wireless: Rural areas deserve broadband

We live in a world where access to fast and affordable internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity. We also live in a location where not everyone has even basic access to internet service.

Over the last few years, the FCC has been working to open access to spectrum called CBRS — Citizens Broadband Radio Service. This spectrum would allow small internet companies like ZIRKEL Wireless to provide faster service to more locations without interference.

The FCC nearly approved the CBRS spectrum when, at last minute, mobile cellular companies lobbied to get the rules changed. The current rules allow licensing areas the size of census tracts; Routt County has eight census tracts and Moffat County has six.

The mobile providers want the license areas changed to partial economic area size licenses. This would lump the following counties under the same license: Hinsdale, Mesa, Summit, San Miguel, Routt, Rio Blanco, Pitkin, Park, Chaffee, Grand, Moffat, Delta, Lake, Jackson, Gunnison, Ouray, Garfield, Fremont, Eagle, Montrose, Clear Creek and Custer.

If we keep licenses to census tract size, smaller providers have a much greater chance of expanding service in rural Colorado.

The cellular companies already have licensed spectrum for these sized areas, and they have yet to provide even basic cell service to much of the Yampa Valley. Allocating spectrum to just a few national providers is a waste because much of it is never used where it's needed most.

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Could you imagine the BLM leasing grazing land to one company who covered one-third of the state, even though that company only grazed cattle in an area the size of Denver? The mobile carriers want a monopoly on all wireless spectrum, even though there is little chance they would use the CBRS band in our rural area.

If you want to promote rural broadband with CBRS spectrum, contact your senators, congressman and the President to pressure the FCC to adopt the rules that allow rural areas to access wireless spectrum that can be used to provide rural Americans a fast and reliable internet option.

Follow this link — http://www.zirkel.us/cbrs — to reach out to Congress.  You can enter a custom message or use the pre-filled message.

The FCC is scheduled to vote on CBRS rules on Oct. 23. Make your voice heard today so areas like the Yampa Valley can count on the spectrum needed for rural broadband.

ZIRKEL Wireless management

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