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Nokia, ExteNet Collaboration To Power Rural California With High-speed Internet

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By Ifeoma Asika

Nokia and ExteNet Systems  have announced their agreement to deliver a CBRS network for Cal.net, Inc., a wireless internet service provider based in Northern California, with internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps downlink and 20 Mbps uplink for Cal.net customers in rural and underserved regions.

For the network buildout, Nokia is the primary supplier of equipment deployed in the Cal.net network, including microwave radios, IP routers and the AirScale RAN solution. ExteNet Systems, a leading communications infrastructure provider, is responsible for the design, build and operations of Cal.net’s CBRS network while also providing a hosted IP core service.

The new network buildout is underway with most of the work planned for completion in the first four years of the agreement. By leveraging Nokia’s microwave backhaul to connect cell sites, combined with fixed wireless to reach end users and high-performance IP service routers, Cal.net can overcome the challenges of bringing high-speed broadband to regions where fiber rollout isn’t an option.

The Cal.net network will also be one of the first deployments of CBRS technology in the US.  The new network will utilize the shared 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum band, previously available only to the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense. CBRS enables multiple entities to use the shared spectrum band at the same time, and opens up new spectrum that wireless internet service providers such as Cal.net can access to bring high-speed internet and 5G to its rural communities.

National Director of Sales – US Regionals, Nokia, Tim Mahoney said: “Nokia believes in bringing connectivity to everyone, whether they live in large urban cities, or in counties such as those in Northern California where Cal.net is staking its claim as the leading service provider in the region with this new network design and build. During this critical time where people are operating under ‘stay at home’ protocols, it’s more important than ever that we solve internet traffic overload issues due to COVID-19 and ensure we keep people connected with their communities. This Cal.net buildout is strategically planned over the next 10 years with the majority of work completed up front. As such, we are committed to our long-term partnership with Cal.net and ExteNet Systems to put the enormous benefits of access to high-speed internet for education, commerce, healthcare and more into the hands of the people.”

VP of Strategic Solutions, ExteNet Systems, Jason Osborne said: “The combination of Nokia equipment with our Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering proved to be the right fit for Cal.net. We have worked with Cal.net for many years and selected Nokia RAN and microwave radio as an integrated offering with our distributed evolved packet core (EPC) solution for the CBRS network build. Cal.net benefits from our carrier-class network assurance, including 24/7 monitoring and maintenance. Nokia is our trusted partner and we look forward to working closely together on this important network buildout for Cal.net.”

Director of Operations, Cal.net, Nick Sekulich said: “In the rural regions that we serve, we needed a wireless solution that can deliver the same performance as fiber, and we needed a trusted partner in wireless infrastructure to help bring our vision of a highly reliable wireless network to life. We chose to build our new network exclusively with Nokia equipment given the company’s decades-long reputation for quality in telecom and our mutual commitment to bridging the digital divide for underserved communities.”

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