MCNC applauds research from WILMA project

12 Days of Broadband 2017 - Day 2The Quello Center at Michigan State University, with the leadership of Merit Network and five other research and education networks including MCNC, released findings earlier this year on wireless solutions to better connect communities and institutions in a new report: Wireless Innovation for Last Mile Access, or WILMA.

The Quello Center undertook this six-month project to examine wireless solutions for last-mile access to broadband Internet services. The initiative sought to support research on wireless solutions for the last mile as a means to better connect communities and institutions. WILMA was led by Merit Network, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Joanna Young, former CIO and Vice President of Michigan State University, and Merit President and CEO Joseph Sawasky were instrumental in engaging The Quello Center to support this research.

We were delighted to continue the traditions of collaboration and innovation, by working with several R&E networks and MSU’s Quello Center, studying the potential of advanced wireless networks for difficult last-mile and mobility applications,” said Sawasky. “Our work covered the spectrum of regulation and business cases, and now provides a foundation of knowledge for real-world, R&E applications.”

Wilma ProjectA key question facing many broadband providers as well as policymakers today is how wireless technologies can be used to best leverage fiber backbone networks and cost-effectively extend high-speed connectivity deeper into the nation’s still-underserved rural areas and urban communities. The Quello Center developed a policy-oriented analysis to foster a better understanding of the combination of spectrum resources and business approaches that could be used to achieve that goal with the non-profit research and education missions.

The research team combined two complementary approaches, which you can read here.

The report received a favorable response after being released in January to various interviewees as well as a number of FCC staff and officials.

Don Means, Community ICT consult at and the Gigabit Libraries Network, called this work “impressive” and “covers more than only TVWS, but places a range of wireless technologies in the context of need and rural infrastructure economics as well as against the backdrop of fiber capacity.”

The research team was led by Professor Bill Dutton, director of the Quello Center. Co-principals included Aleks Yankelevich, an economist, who led the spectrum analysis, and Mitch Shapiro, a telecommunications specialist, who led the case-level analyses. Additional support for the Quello team was provided by Kendall Koning, J.D., in the Department of Media and Information within MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences, and Professor Tongtong Li from MSU’s College of Engineering. Dr Li specializes in the design and implementation of 3G and 4G systems, with a focus on security.

For additional information about the project, contact researchers via email at