Thursday, October 22, 2020

CCA Explores the Rise of Wireless in a COVID World

 By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief Competitive Carriers Association President/CEO Steve Berry told attendees of the group’s annual convention Wednesday he’s “amazed” at how the country’s perception of wireless has changed almost overnight due to the pandemic. “If a student needs a connection today they can get online with a wireless hotspot instead of waiting for a service call and a wired connection. Wireless is the glue holding life and business together for so many people.”

The industry noted the change in consumer habits. Mid-March saw voice traffic increase from 20 to 40 percent on wireless networks, he said. “That’s a big uptick considering 80 percent of voice connections in the U.S. are wireless.” Berry said COVID drove up broadband demand 20 percent and major wireless providers reported a 25 percent increase in texting. Mobile hotspot use “soared,” he added.

Many CCA members rose to the occasion and kept life moving, according to Berry. He listed examples, such as Carolina West, which rolled out an assistance program for customers that included high-speed data. GCI in Alaska offered free upgrades and worked with local and federal governments to assist schools, students and individuals in need of basic wireless services. C Spire in Mississippi and Alabama worked with schools to provide free wireless accounts to approved learning sites for K-12 students. Continue Reading

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