Regions Shenandoah Valley

NTELOS and Dish Network collaborate on pilot project

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Waynesboro-based NTELOS Holding Corp. and Colorado-based Dish Network Corp. have begun a pilot project involving “fixed wireless” broadband service in rural Virginia.

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

The trial relies on rooftop devices at customers’ homes that are intended to deliver significant advantage over inside-the-home antenna solutions.

“We are excited to test this first-of-its-kind offering, with an emphasis on further shrinking the service gap of underserved, rural communities,” James A. Hyde, the CEO of NTELOS, said in a statement. “As we prove out the concept and refine the offering, we are confident this partnership will build value for all our stake holders.”

Tom Cullen, Dish Network’s executive vice president of corporate development, noted that nearly a fifth of American households are underserved by broadband. In a statement he said, delivering true broadband speeds “will bring improved broadband options to potentially millions of consumers.”

Broadband service speeds at test sites are ranging from 20 Mbps to more than 50 Mbps. The broadband service uses wireless spectrum in the 2.5 GHz range.

Dish Network has deployed outdoor routers with built-in, high-gain antennas to receive the 2.5 GHz LTE signal.

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

NTELOS provides wireless service about 451,000 retail subscribers in Virginia, West Virginia and portions of Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky.

Dish Network, based in Englewood, Colo., serves about 14 million satellite TV customers.

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