AT&T continued to expand its full-fiber footprint to deliver high-speed Internet and lay the groundwork for the introduction of 5G services in some US regions before year-end.
On Thursday, the operator launched ultra-fast broadband in South Bend, Ind., bringing it up to 71 total metro regions nationwide where that offering is available. In addition to residential customers, regional enterprises have access to AT&T Business Fiber. AT&T is also conducting a fixed 5G trial using millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum in the city.
Checking Out Fixed Mobile 5G
Some South Bend AT&T subscribers test fixed mobile 5G. (Source: rawpixel on Unsplash)
More municipalities want high-speed broadband to attract or retain residents and businesses. That's certainly the case for South Bend.
"High-speed internet has quickly become a preferred way to access information and communicate,” said Jeff Rea, president and CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce, in a statement. "I am glad to see this investment from AT&T and am certain that the increased ability to tout the South Bend area's connectivity to fiber Internet further strengthens the reputation of our community."
By the end of 2018, AT&T plans to introduce mobile 5G services to 12 US cities, said Bill Soards, president of AT&T Indiana. Fiber helps the provider reach that goal, given 5G's demand for densification of small cells. In April, AT&T reported it had 8 million subscribers for its fiber-based services. (See AT&T Doubles Down on Fiber Diet .)
AT&T expects to further expand its full-fiber network in an additional 13 metro areas across states, including Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Illinois and Indiana. While its fiber reaches 9 million locations today, AT&T plans to pass at least 14 million locations in at least 84 metro areas by mid-2019, the operator said.
With fiber, subscribers receive the same upstream and downstream speeds at rates of 100M bit/s, 300 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s, according to AT&T.
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Fast, reliable broadband is essential to how we live, work and play today – and the upcoming arrival of 5G will only further increase demand and reliance on fiber infrastructure. Already viewed by consumers as intolerable, delays, outages or the regular maintenance difficulties associated with operating a network will become further exacerbated when residential subscribers further rely on connected devices for day-to-day life. Just as providers deploy network automation tools to reduce operational issues, they must take similar care to manage consumer expectations when they roll out fiber or new services. This webinar features leaders who will discuss how to manage marketing and consumer expectations at every stage of the network lifecycle. Marketing professionals, c-level executives and policymakers interested in drumming up fiber envy should attend.