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What’s behind AT&T’s Rural Fixed Wireless Internet Rollout?

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Service reaches 18 states

As part of its FCC Connect America Fund commitment, AT&T (T) is extending its fixed wireless Internet access service to more rural and underserved locations in the US (SPY). AT&T’s fixed wireless Internet connection comes from a wireless tower to a fixed antenna on a customer home or business. The connection delivers download speeds of at least ten Mbps and upload speeds of at least one Mbps.

On September 27, AT&T announced that its fixed wireless Internet services had reached residents and businesses in an additional nine states including Texas, Arkansas, and California. Before entering these additional nine states, AT&T was already offering its fixed wireless Internet services in nine other states including Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee.

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Covering 1.1 million locations by 2020

AT&T’s fixed wireless Internet is now available in 18 states and across 160,000 locations. The company is working toward a goal of covering more than 400,000 locations by the end of this year. By 2020, AT&T expects to have reached more than 1.1 million locations.

“Closing the connectivity gap is a top priority for us. Access to fast and reliable internet is a game changer in today’s world. This service will bring countless opportunities for more customers in underserved rural locations,” noted Cheryl Choy, the vice president of Internet products at AT&T.

OTT market is a $64.8 billion revenue opportunity

The rollout of fixed wireless Internet in rural and underserved pockets of the US could help expand the market for AT&T’s Internet TV service, DirecTV Now. AT&T is expanding into the media and advertising industry to mitigate the slowdown in its core wireless carrier industry. Verizon (VZ), which acquired AOL and Yahoo, is also eyeing the media industry for new growth opportunities. T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) also have some forms of media offerings through strategic partnerships.

AT&T launched DIRECTV Now, an over-the-top (or OTT) video service, as part of its media push. According to Digital TV Research, the global OTT market will be worth $64.8 billion in revenues by 2021, up from $29.4 billion in 2015.

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