Last week, AT&T and local leaders cut the ribbon on a new fixed wireless service in Lee and Sumter Counties in south Georgia. It’s the first area in Georgia where AT&T set up fixed wireless, a technology different than broadband through the cell network. From WFXL, Fox31:
The service, which targets rural and underserved areas, began Friday, though AT&T said they had calls from interested customers about signing up before then, and Georgia is one of the first states to get it.
AT&T Southeast Vice President for Public Affairs Daniel Hayes said their goal is to serve 67,000 locations in Georgia by 2020 with this service, but they hope to have 40 percent of those connected by the end of 2017.
Fixed wireless uses radio frequencies, but it’s not mobile data, wi-fi, or satellite according to BroadbandNow. It’s also capable of delivering gigabit rivaling ISPs deploying fiber optic networks. Currently, 90% of Georgians have access to wired broadband 25 Mbps with 5.1% of Georgians having access to fixed wireless service providers.
AT&T’s fixed wireless service in these counties is a part of the FCC Connect America Fund (CAF). The FCC CAF was created as a part of reforms to the FCC’s Universal Service Fund and Intercarrier Compensation initiatives. Hopefully, AT&T and other ISPs will build out their fixed wireless infrastructures to help increase access to areas that have a single or no provider of adequate broadband Internet access.