Connecting Rural America: Delivering Fixed Wireless Internet Through New Technologies
We’ve been connecting rural communities for decades, from telephone service to internet. And we continue to make it our priority to bring new and existing technologies to those who need it. This month marks one year since we launched our Fixed Wireless Internet (FWI) service in 18 states.
In 2015, we announced a commitment to offer high-speed internet to more than 1.1 million hard to reach locations by the end of 2020 as part of our participation in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program. And we’re on track to cover 60% of that commitment in 2018, offering a high-speed internet connection to 660,000 homes and small businesses by the end of this year. Through this effort we’ve brought new opportunities, information, education and entertainment to areas where a quality internet connection wasn’t available.
AT&T is using its Fixed Wireless Internet to meet much of this FCC commitment in parts of the following 18 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
We’ve expanded dramatically since our launch of Fixed Wireless Internet last year. Here’s a look at some important milestones:
- We now offer Fixed Wireless Internet service in nearly 1,000 counties across these 18 states.
- By the end of 2018, more than 660,000 homes and small businesses will be able to sign-up for high-speed internet, much of which will be through our Fixed Wireless Internet service.
- We’re more than halfway there on our plans to make internet access available to over 1.1 million locations by the end of 2020.
Fixed Wireless Internet is just one of the innovative solutions we’re evaluating to continue to connect home and businesses in rural and hard to reach areas. Millions of U.S. households lack access to internet service, and in many cases a fixed wireless connection can reach homes and businesses where a wired network cannot.
We recently announced plans to expand access to ultra-fast connectivity over our Next Generation Fixed Wireless Internet service using the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum band. This ‘innovation band’ will allow us to bring faster download speeds, greater network capacity and enhanced connectivity using Massive MIMO architecture over a shared spectrum band (3.55-3.7 GHz). You can read more about it here.
We plan to primarily use the CBRS solution to deliver home and enterprise broadband services in suburban and rural locations.
Project AirGig is another exciting new technology that could provide high-speed internet in the future to suburban and rural neighborhoods. Through this technology, we could one day deliver low-cost, high-speed wireless internet over power lines using technology pioneered by AT&T. That’s pretty incredible.
We’re exploring another field trial in which we’ll focus on aspects of surface-wave systems, which could provide an important ingredient in a future 5G world. This brings us one step closer to bringing this technology to many more people and businesses across the country.
Making the power of an internet connection available to more Americans has been an important mission for both my company and myself, and I am proud of the progress we’ve made with these technologies and what’s to come.
Learn more about Fixed Wireless Internet from AT&T at att.com/internet/fixed-wireless.html.