When you think of Verizon and fiber, you tend to think of Fios, which is a fiber-based brand in the Northeast U.S. that bundles connectivity, voice and video. But Verizon has other fiber, as well, including long-haul routes. And the company is currently deploying lots of fiber as part of its 5G roll-outs.
Aparna Khurjekar, president of Verizon Business Markets, said, “All the 5G nodes need fiber. We are very aggressive in laying out fiber and 5G in the right places. It [fiber] is always associated with 5G. We believe 5G is the future of bandwidth connectivity.”
Verizon and AT&T vie for the most fiber in the United States with each having more than 800,000 route miles, according to analysts at Cowen.
As part of its 5G/fiber rollouts, Verizon is also looking to help close the digital divide. And it sees fixed wireless access (FWA) as a technology to help with that. In an announcement earlier this year, Verizon said, “Laying fiber cable over long distances and wide areas is expensive and difficult, but 5G wireless broadband could prove a worthwhile investment for those communities.”
It said rural homes and businesses, where 5G becomes available, could get fast wireless internet through 5G FWA services.
Verizon Business FWA
Besides using FWA to help close the digital divide, Verizon Business is touting the technology to its small and medium business customers as a replacement to cable and legacy telecom connections.
Verizon Business is currently offering its 5G Business Internet FWA service in parts of 54 U.S. cities.
Of FWA, Khurjekar said, “We’re seeing a lot of interest in the mid-size market. It started with Business Internet being a backup or temporary solution.” But now businesses are replacing plain old telephone service (POTS) lines with the fixed wireless service.
Business who switch their connectivity from another provider get a credit of up to $1,500 to offset early termination fees.
Verizon also offers 4G FWA service to businesses. “We want to blanket the U.S.,” said Khurjekar. “Wherever we have wireless 4G today, we’re open for Business Internet as well.”
According to its FWA website, there are two types of equipment needed for the 5G Business Internet service:
- An outdoor 5G receiver, which is mounted on the roof or side of the building by a Verizon technician.
- A router, either purchased from Verizon and installed by the Verizon technician; or an existing, compatible enterprise-grade router from select manufacturers.
Besides Verizon, T-Mobile has jumped on FWA as a way to serve internet to businesses. But, unlike Verizon, T-Mobile is new to the business market.
Asked if Verizon sees T-Mobile’s entrance into the business market as a threat, Khurjekar said, “The mid-size business and small business is not a one-and-done. It needs a lot of care and nurturing. We have the infrastructure to do that. We have the sales person, followed by this support infrastructure.”
She added, “With more than 50% of the workforce coming from SMBs it’s a space that really needs to be talked about. We find a lot of mid-market players need help from us.”