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AT&T Tests Fixed Wireless Broadband

AT&T is exploring the delivery of broadband services outside its wireline footprint by testing point-to-point millimeter wave wireless technology to deliver 100 Mbps speeds to select apartment complexes in Minneapolis.

The platform being tested extends connections from a fiber-connected property to neighboring properties using small radio/antenna systems placed on the properties' rooftops. Once a neighboring building receives the multi-gigabit millimeter wave wireless signal, AT&T converts it to high-speed wired Internet connection that rides on existing or new wiring in the property to each unit.

AT&T said it is also eying faster speeds in these trial properties, perhaps up to 500 Mbps. AT&T is also considering rollouts in parts of Boston,  Denver, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Notably, residents in the trial properties can also get DirecTV service using an “Advantage” platform that relies on a single satellite dish on the building to send a video signal to a centralized distribution system without having to install dishes on individual unit balconies.

"We're trialing the latest innovations in wireless and wired network technologies. This will make it possible for us to potentially deliver an internet connection to more locations where we have not previously been able to offer a home internet connection," Ed Balcerzak, senior vice president, Commercial and Connected Communities at AT&T, said in a statement. "If successful, this will give us the ability to offer a combination of internet, DirecTV and wireless services to apartment complexes and multifamily communities in additional metro areas."