AT&T to Go Nationwide with Millimeter Wave Fixed Wireless Broadband

Fixed wireless architecture as shown by Siklu, which makes the transmitter/receivers

– Trialing Now in CenturyLink’s Minneapolis Footprint

– 100 Mbps Now and Maybe 500 Mbps in the Future

– Could Stimulate Sales of G.fast, DOCSIS, MoCA Access & XG-Fast

By Charles Hall

AT&T is trialing the use of fixed wireless millimeter wave spectrum broadband technology to provide 100 Mbps to “multiple” apartment MDUs in Minneapolis. The millimeter wave spectrum gets broadband to a receiver on a building but AT&T must use wireline technology to connect residences.

The trial is unique because:

– It is the first known fixed wireless trial by any telco worldwide.

– It does not use 5G technology, which many believed would be telcos/cellcos preferred fixed wireless broadband technology.

– Minneapolis is in CenturyLink’s footprint and telcos traditionally do not compete against each other in the same footprint.

– Under a headline called “Outside of Traditional Wireline Service Area,” AT&T said it hopes to expand the service to other locations that are not in its traditional telco footprint. Other markets under consideration are Boston, Denver, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle and Washington DC. Many are in the Verizon’s FiOS footprint such as Boston, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, and Washington D.C. AT&T’s DirecTV has roof top access to and coax throughout several million MDUs.

AT&T said the millimeter wave spectrum can probably support up to 500 Mbps.

Millimeter wave spectrum has a relatively short range – less than two miles – compared to cellular so AT&T will have to build or lease a fiber network that reaches close to the MDUs. AT&T said it will install fiber to a central building from which the millimeter wave wireless connectivity can be offered to MDUs. Inside the MDU, AT&T will use existing wiring if available or AT&T will install new wiring. If the MDU has DirecTV service, AT&T said it will use one receiver for both DirecTV and fixed wireless broadband.

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