In April 2017 AT&T tested a fixed wireless service in parts of remote Georgia as part of the FCC's Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF-II). AT&T, Verizon, and eight other carriers accepted $1.5 billion in late 2015 to help bring broadband services (fixed wireless internet) to an estimated 23 million Americans who live in rural areas.
There are concerns about download speed, as AT&T promises "at least" 10Mpbs and the FCC qualifies broadband at 25Mpbs or higher, over twice the speed that AT&T is promoting. Additionally, lack of competition could prove to be a problem since there are few or no other viable options available.
Customers will pay $60 for a monthly data allowance of 160GB and incur overage fees of $10 for every additional 50GB used with a maximum cap of $200. An annual contract is required for this price. If a customer chooses to pay monthly without a contract, the cost is $70. Customers can also extend service monthly after the completion of a contract for $70 a month. When bundled with either DirecTV or AT&T wireless, a one-year contract will cost $50 a month. Customers must have one of these services to qualify for a bundled price. Without a contract, fixed wireless internet can be bundled with either DirecTV or AT&T wireless for $60 a month. Customers can also extend service monthly after the completion of a contract for $60 a month. There is a $99 one-time installation fee for both standalone and wireless plans. If the customer is also purchasing DirecTV, the fee is waived. AT&T's new fixed wireless service is preferable to mobile internet because it offers a much higher data usage cap of 160GB per month. The downfalls are steep penalties for going over the allotted limit and slower download speeds that could be problematic for streaming movies or playing online video games. Ultimately, it will provide much-needed broadband services for a segment of rural Americans that have been without them.
How AT&T Fixed Wireless Works
Fixed wireless access is literally accessing the Internet through the air. Internet packets (data) travels through the air from a tower (distirbution point) that is much like a cell phone tower. The signals travel via radio waves instead of terrestrial lines such as copper (DSL), fiber-optic or cabling. Nationwide, 51% of the US population has access at home or work to a fixed wireless connection.
AT&T will use existing cell towers to communicate with outdoor antennas that attach to the exterior of their customers' homes. These antennas are like satellite TV antennas, but far less vulnerable to interference from the weather so they are much more reliable. An Ethernet cable will run from the outdoor antenna to a Wi-Fi gateway inside the residence.
Please see the diagram below to understand further how AT&T Fixed Wireless works.
Locations that are confirmed to currently have the new Internet service are found throughout the most rural parts of southern Georgia. Since its inception, it has spread to over 70,000 residents across Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Louisiana. AT&T's ambitious short-term goals include an additional 400,000 customers served in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and nine other states by the end of 2017. Ultimately, AT&T expects to have more than 1.1 million locations by 2020, a lofty goal and one that would serve Americans in the United States rural heartland with wireless internet.
What is AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet?
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet offers qualifying small businesses and households high-speed internet through an outdoor antenna and an indoor Wi-fi antenna gateway. Included with the AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet Service is the following:
What are the upload and download speeds provided with AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet?
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet offers speeds of at least 1 Mbps for uploading. The minimum speed for downloading is 10 Mbps. Several factors can affect your data speed. These factors include:
Wi-fi is not as good as a wired connection. You will also receive the best signal when you are closest to your wi-fi gateway, without any obstructions. To experience the best results, you should use an ethernet (wired) connection. Some devices, mainly older devices, may have a maximum internet speed that they can achieve. These devices may be slower than your internet service speed. Using multiple devices at the same time, via wired or wireless connection, may also slow down your internet speed.
Will I be able to add AT&T Fixed Wireless to my AT&T Mobile Share Plan?
No. You cannot add AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet to a Mobile Share Plan. The AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet Plan does not include Rollover Data.
Does AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet include wi-fi?
Yes. You can connect several wi-fi devices like laptops, tablets, and smartphones to the Wi-FI Gateway. You can also connect a maximum of four Ethernet-connected devices. Accessing your AT&T wireless connection (including the use of some home automation equipment and smartphones) will count towards your internet data usage. However, accessing the internet using a public or commercial wi-fi hotspot will not count toward your total usage.
How far can the AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet wi-fi signal reach?
AT&T's Fixed Wireless Internet Wi-Fi Gateway router provides wireless internet services throughout your home or business. It also helps to reduce the occurrences of dead spots. This new Internet option gives you the ability to have a safe, secured wireless network. You will have a high-speed internet connection to multiple devices.
Will weather affect my service?
AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet uses LTE signals from cell towers. Several factors can affect your internet service's quality. Some factors that can impact your service includes terrain, network capacity, weather, foliage, and buildings. Your installer will confirm the signal strength at your location prior to installation.
How long will it take for me to get service?
Typically, installation occurs within ten days of ordering the service. Installation requires the services of a professional installer and takes around three hours.
Will I be able to take my AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet to another location?
No. You cannot take AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet to another location. Do not attempt to move the outdoor antenna. Should you want the service at another location, like a second home, please contact AT&T. A representative will check the availability of AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet and other AT&T at that location.
What are the differences between AT&T Wireless Home Phone & Internet and AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet?
AT&T Wireless Home Phone & Internet and AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet provides customers with internet access. AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet uses a professionally installed, outdoor antenna that is mounted to your home or business exterior. The antenna provides a strong signal and improved connectivity. Unlike the AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet service, the AT&T Wireless Home Phone & Internet uses a small, self-installed desktop device. No antenna is required. The AT&T Wireless Home Phone & Internet service is mobile and usable at multiple locations. It is also available everywhere AT&T wireless services are available. AT&T Fixed Wireless is available in select, rural locations. The AT&T Wireless Home Phone & Internet download speeds tend to be faster at 5 12 Mbps.
AT&T Fixed Wireless offers Internet service to approximately 70,000 people in 0 cities over 0 states.