Learning Alliance (LAC) and Federated Wireless today announced a partnership through which the two companies will work to issue more than 2,000 Certified Professional Installer (CPI) certificates for Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) over the course of the next two years, greatly expanding the number of technicians available nationally. The program is designed to accelerate expansion of this low-cost option to deliver high speed broadband in rural and underserved communities who might otherwise have limited access.
Federated Wireless and LAC will collaborate to build a hands-on simulation of a CBRS installation – from SAS to radio, using Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions based around CBRS frameworks. AR/VR options provide a hands-on approach to learning the complex skills that go into radio installation.
While demand for this type of infrastructure increases, so does the workforce demand. By providing access to CPI training to large network service providers, WISPs and individuals seeking a career in telecoms, LAC and Federated Wireless are helping grow and strengthen the market for shared spectrum connectivity. In doing so, all players benefit in the ecosystem and provide real career opportunities and professional development for veterans and civilians, according to the companies. Additionally, the Learning Alliance is committed to increasing the diversity of the telco workforce and will engage their >40% minority student population to participate.
“CBRS presents a unique way to expand LTE capability to many areas of the U.S., including rural broadband,” said Fred Arnold, Director of Operations for Learning Alliance. “Through this partnership, we hope to provide our students access to jobs that CBRS/DAS focused.”
Cesar Ruiz, President and CEO of Learning Alliance, describes LAC students as hands-on learners who need to jump in and get their hands on the equipment and materials.
“Not only will our students become CPI certified through online and in-person lecture as an authorized training provider, but they will also connect the dots through a hands-on CBRS approach,” said Ruiz. “We don’t just want them to be certified, we want them to know the equipment, the SAS, the IRUs, the baseband, and the requirements for troubleshooting that entire system.”
Federated Wireless was first to launch and deploy a commercial spectrum access system (SAS) and an environmental sensing capability (ESC) network, both of which are key enablers for using both licensed and unlicensed CBRS spectrum. With more than 200 customers and about 65,000 connected devices across the United States and territories, the company serves a customer base including tier one Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), tier one cable operators and tower companies, over 100 regional and rural Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs), and several public sector and federal entities, including a Marine Corp 5G Smart Warehouse in Albany, GA.
“By combining the theoretical and practical, AR/VR provides an opportunity for students to experience real-life deployment scenarios before they enter the field,” said Steele Bennett, Sr. Director, Sales Operations for Federated Wireless. “Increased availability of technicians with this valuable skill set will help ensure that more communities are able to reap the benefits of shared spectrum services more quickly.”
LAC and Federated Wireless plan to discuss CBRS, the partnership, and the training opportunity to students on an upcoming podcast with Inside Towers. Users can access the podcast by subscribing to Inside Towers’ Tower Talks via their preferred platform on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music and Google. For more information on the certification program, visit here.