AT&T expands fixed wireless offering to 9 new states

AT&T continued to roll out its fixed wireless offering for rural and underserved locations, adding locations in nine new states.

The service, which is branded AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet, is now available to residents and small businesses in parts of Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin. The offering initially launched in Georgia four months ago and is now available across 160,000 locations in 18 states.

“Closing the connectivity gap is a top priority for us,” said Cheryl Choy, vice president of wired voice and internet products at AT&T, in a press release. “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.”

The service is part of AT&T’s participation in the FCC's Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF-II). 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 areas.

RELATED: AT&T, Verizon among recipients of $1.5B in the government's CAF-II funding

The carrier said it plans to provide access to over 400,000 locations by the end of this year, and more than 1.1 million locations by 2020. The service includes 160 GB of data per month, with additional data available at $10 per GB up to a maximum of $200 a month. Customers must have an AT&T-provided outdoor antenna and the carrier’s indoor residential gateway, and additional buckets of 50 GB of data are available for $10 each up to a maximum of $200 a month.

“For many rural families and communities, the introduction of this service from AT&T will mark a new era of increased broadband speeds and access to cheaper and more diverse content.” said Bret Swanson, president of Entropy Economics. "AT&T's move into these new communities will also yield additional economic benefits and can help create new jobs.”

Interestingly, the regional operator C Spire is targeting AT&T with a fixed wireless service of its own. C Spire said earlier this week it is using “multiple technologies and spectrums depending on the options available in any given area,” and that it expects to eventually cover 200,000 consumers and businesses in the state with the technology.

C Spire said that its fixed wireless service, launching initially in eight markets in the Southeast, will be able to supply typical throughput speeds of 25 Mbps. The service will cost $55 a month and won't have a usage cap, but C Spire said it reserves right to protect its network and overall customer experience—wording that likely indicates it may throttle customers who use a lot of data.