Viaero Wireless to Build FirstNet Sites in 4 States
Monday, November 04, 2019 | Comments

AT&T selected rural wireless carrier Viaero Wireless Technologies and its subsidiaries to support the deployment of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) network across rural Colorado and Nebraska, as well as select portions of South Dakota and Wyoming. Viaero executives have said its network uses equipment from Huawei.

Based on the collaboration with AT&T, Viaero Wireless will help build additional Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage across rural communities in these four states, adding band 14 spectrum and AT&T commercial LTE spectrum bands to hundreds of its cellular sites. Construction, deployment, maintenance and backhaul services to these sites will be handled by Viaero and its affiliates.

“We are looking forward to this fast-paced deployment to support FirstNet and one of the key objectives of the public-safety network: delivering reliable connectivity to rural and remote first responders,” said Frank DiRico, president of Viaero Wireless Technologies.

Last year, Viaero Wireless said in an FCC filing that 80% of its equipment, including core, wireless, microwave and fiber, was manufactured by Huawei, a Chinese company U.S. government officials have targeted for security concerns. Huawei's services to Viaero have been better than a previous vendor, resulting in better network performance and less downtime, the Viaero filing said.

"Viaero has consciously used a U.S.-based vendor separate and distinct from Huawei for our firewalls, routers and switches," the filing said. "No traffic gets in or out of our network without going through our U.S.-based vendor's routers and firewalls. This gives Viaero protection from any malicious act by Huawei or anybody else. We have reached out to several cyber security firms to further evaluate any vulnerabilities in our network."

Earlier this year, Huawei was added to the Department of Commerce entity list, making it difficult for the Chinese firm to do business with U.S. companies. A 90-day reprieve is in effect, with another 90-day delay possible, according to press reports.

Last week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai circulated an item that would prohibit companies from using money from the FCC’s $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund (USF) to purchase equipment or services from any company that poses a national security threat. The draft report and order would initially designate two Chinese companies — Huawei and ZTE — as companies that pose a national security risk and would establish a process for designating additional covered companies in the future.

Last month, the FCC granted Viaero a special temporary authority (STA) license to test 2.5 GHz spectrum using Huawei equipment.

"We are working with Viaero to provide additional LTE coverage across rural communities in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming," said an AT&T spokesperson. "Viaero will only be using equipment that we currently use in our U.S. network, and we will complete a detailed inspection of each cell site prior to turning a site on air. This is standard across the work we are doing with rural providers."

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On 11/6/19, Mike said:
So AT&T can't build out east in Colorado since they don't have that spectrum and now want to overlay the band 14 frequencies onto a Chinese infrastructure owned by Viaero. Not all that smart of an idea especially in public safety. So will feds be using this FirstNet service out east? I would suspect so.

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