Home and Family     K-12    

How 5G fixed wireless access is bridging the Digital Divide

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) will help solve this issue

What 5G FWA can mean for your family

When working from home and attending school virtually became part of everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic, it taught us how vital home broadband internet is.

A recent OpenVault report found broadband usage spiked nearly 50% year over year during the first quarter of the pandemic, and that usage has sustained today. Those with a stable internet connection were able to keep up with school, work and various tasks. However, because ISPs have continued to underserve certain customers for years, many families were left behind. In fact, more than 42 million Americans lack broadband access, according to BroadbandNow.com.

The Digital Divide refers to the gap between those who have access to high-speed internet and those who do not due to various demographic factors. Even many with internet access struggle with unreliable internet, low broadband speeds and poor overall performance. Options like fiber, which are known to be incredibly reliable, are difficult to build out across communities. Older options like DSL and satellite lack the reliability and speeds to keep up with today’s typical broadband usage. So, for decades, many in this country have been without a stable internet connection, and competition everywhere has remained limited.

In 2021, Congress created the Affordable Connectivity Program, a long-term $14 billion program to combat the Digital Divide. This program offers a discount toward internet service for eligible households. However, many communities, especially those in rural America, still face infrastructure hurdles. In a recent White House speech, President Joe Biden stated that more than 30 million Americans are living in rural areas that still do not have access to high-speed internet.

The good news is that 5G is helping to bring new hope to the high-speed home internet industry. 5G wireless networks have massive capacity, more than 4G LTE networks ever did. According to industry experts, it means 5G can deliver capacity and speeds fast enough to offer home internet service directly to millions of homes across the United States, without the expensive builds or complicated installation common with Big Internet companies.

With 5G comes Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), a new service that will help bridge the Digital Divide. FWA is a cost-effective method of delivering high-speed internet to areas with limited fixed (wireline) broadband infrastructure. FWA works like any other home internet service, but instead of connecting through a cable, it does so through a wireless network using a router. It leverages the extra capacity of wireless networks, making it easy to deliver a reliable high-speed internet experience to homes in traditionally underserved areas. FWA doesn’t require drilling holes and setup is easy. Simply plug in a dedicated router, place it in an area with an optimal signal and you’re connected.

Wondering whether 5G FWA is here to stay? ABI Research forecasts that in 2026, the FWA market will exceed 180 million subscriptions and generate $70 billion in revenue. The 5G FWA market will then account for 40% of the total FWA market.

Two companies are leading the FWA market. One of them, T-Mobile, launched 5G Home Internet in 2021 and already has over 1.5 million customers.

At a time when connectivity has never been more important, 5G FWA will help millions access dependable, affordable home internet. Bridging the Digital Divide is not only crucial for those without access, but is good for the entire country. With 5G, there’s a powerful opportunity to change the high-speed internet industry for good.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) vichie81 / iStock via Getty Images Plus

Other articles by HVP News Reporters

  • Safety tips to follow when using gas or charcoal grills

    Following safety procedures when grilling can reduce injury and save lives

    Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer for many New Yorkers, and with it, the start of the grilling season. As New Yorkers get ready to fire up their grills this Memorial Day weekend, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) reminds consumers to consider some important safety tips for safe summer barbecues. read more »
  • Tips to help avoid moving scams

    Be aware of deceptive business practices

    For this week’s “Tuesday’s Tips,” the New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection provides consumers with important tips to avoid scams when moving. Moving your belongings can be a stressful process, and unfortunately scammers use these situations to defraud consumers out of thousands of dollars by using deceptive business practices. read more »
  • 4 things parents and youth athletes should know about concussions

    Every person and every concussion is different

    Despite the attention drawn to the topic of concussions over the past decade, it can be difficult to find readily available answers about what parents and young athletes should do after sustaining a concussion. read more »
  • How to keep feet and ankles in tip top shape this summer

    Experts offer tips for you and your family

    Summer fun and chores alike come with potential hazards to feet. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, here’s how to protect feet and ankles from the most common seasonal hazards. read more »
  • Confused by nutrition labels? You’re not alone

    How to read the packaging on your groceries

    Shopping for groceries can be like navigating a maze: so many choices in every aisle, food packages covered in marketing claims, and little direction on what is truly healthy and what isn’t. People want to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, but how can they when the information available to them can be so overwhelming? read more »
  • Thoughtful gift ideas for Mother's Day

    Make your mom smile on her special day

    To show your mom just how much she means to you, choose a Mother’s Day gift that reflects her interests and passions. As you’re looking for the perfect gift, consider these thoughtful ideas that will touch her heart. read more »
  • How high-speed internet can help spark community vitality

    Let's get internet everywhere

    Most Americans consider high-speed internet an essential household service. Yet in rural America, an estimated 25% of the population doesn’t have broadband access, limiting their economic growth and access to career opportunities and resources such as education and health care. read more »
  • Girls on the Run launches new curriculum

    Meeting the needs of today's girls

    Girls on the Run International (GOTRI), a nationally recognized nonprofit that empowers young girls, has launched its new research-based curriculum intentionally designed to meet the needs of today's girls. Entitled Hello, Superstar!, the innovative curriculum helps girls build the confidence to be themselves through meaningful and engaging lessons and activities that keep them moving. read more »
  • From awareness to action: Learning.com's commitment to supporting healthy relationships with technology for kids

    Learning.com shares resources aimed at creating positive digital experiences for children

    As the world observes Mental Health Awareness Month this May, Learning.com, a leading provider of digital literacy solutions, is taking proactive steps to address a pressing issue: the need for young learners to develop healthy relationships with technology. Recognizing that banning technology isn't the solution, Learning.com is engaging educators and parents in the conversation and providing free tools and resources during the month of May aimed at supporting the creation of positive digital experiences for children. Through an informative webinar with experts in the field on May 21, Learning.com will foster discussions that aim to help students build healthy relationships with technology. read more »
  • 4 trends showing mental health is a continued challenge for Americans

    People with outward appearances of success, productivity and happiness often still deal with internal struggles. Mental health challenges continue to affect Americans, with nearly 3 of 4 (73%) U.S. adults reporting struggles with mental health in 2023. read more »