AT&T launches fixed wireless internet in Georgia

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AT&T said it has completed an initial rollout of fixed wireless internet services for rural and underserved consumers in Georgia.

The operator is using a wireless tower and a fixed antenna on customers’ homes or businesses to deliver internet download speeds of at least 10 Mbps. AT&T said it plans to reach more than 67,000 locations with the technology across Georgia by 2020, and will begin to deploy the service later this year in 17 other states.

AT&T plans to reach more than 1.1 million locations overall with fixed wireless broadband by 2020.

“Access to the internet is an important tool for advancing opportunities in communities,” said Eric Boyer, AT&T’s senior vice president of wireless and wired product marketing, in a press release. “It creates economic growth, helps increase community engagement and makes education accessible. We’re committed to utilizing available technologies to connect hard-to-reach locations.”

The service is part of AT&T’s participation in the FCC Connect American Fund. AT&T, Verizon and eight other carriers accepted a total of $1.5 billion in late 2015 in the second phase of that initiative, which aims to bring broadband service to an estimated 23 million Americans in rural uncovered areas.

The new service, which is branded Fixed Wireless Internet, includes 160 GB of data per month, with additional data available at $10 per GB up to a maximum of $200 a month. The products and services are provided by subsidies and affiliates of AT&T under the carrier’s brand, but not directly by the carrier itself.

AT&T hasn’t said precisely which technology it’s using for its fixed wireless broadband offering, but it may be leveraging Wireless Local Loop (WLL). Earlier this year the operator said it was conducting WLL tests on its LTE network in two locations in the U.S.

The operator confirmed in 2015 that it was testing WLL in select areas of the country with local residents who wanted to try it, including in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Virginia. AT&T reported it had seen speeds of roughly 15 Mbps to 25 Mbps using WLL.