Verizon Taps into Extra Spectrum

Verizon is the latest wireless ISP to get access to more spectrum to meet the coronavirus-driven boost in traffic. 

The FCC has granted special temporary authority (STA) to use additional spectrum, which is being supplied by Northstar Wireless LLC and SNR Wireless, familiar names to followers of the FCC's auction of AWS-3 spectrum, which is what the companies are giving up temporarily. 

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Defense coordinated with the FCC in getting the STA out ASAP, as it were. 

Related: More Praise from Pai Over Industry's Coronavirus Response 

The FCC has already granted similar STAs to T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular as carriers are teaming up to keep the broadband data flowing for telemedicine, telework, distance learning (not to mention the gaming and video streaming that help pass the time in quarantine or enforced social distancing). 

"Wireless services are a vital part of connectivity, and this has never been truer than during this crisis, when so many people are turning to telework, remote learning, and telehealth options,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai. “I want to thank Northstar and SNR for their willingness to allow this use of the spectrum for which they hold licenses. I’m also grateful to Verizon for seeking out ways to meet increased consumer demand. And I want to give a special thanks to our partners at the Department of Defense and NTIA for their efforts in working with us to ensure that this emergency authority could be granted quickly.” 

"We're doing everything in our power to make sure that our networks are there when our customers need them," said Adam Koeppe, senior VP of network technology strategy and planning, for Verizon. "While our networks continue to perform well during this crisis, this spectrum will allow us to add capacity to ensure great service for our customers, businesses and all on the front lines in the fight against Covid-19. We'd like to thank the FCC as well as Northstar and SNR for their cooperation and quick action to allow us to put this spectrum to use to strengthen our network." 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.