AT&T Testing Wireless Local Loop

As part of its argument for approval of its acquisition of DirecTV, AT&T said it would be able to deploy as many as 13 million new fixed wireless local loop networks in rural areas, and AT&T seems to be working on the economics now.

The service was said to be capable of downstream speeds between 15 Mbps and 25 Mbps.

AT&T says it is currently testing fixed wireless local loop technology in select areas of the country, including sites in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Virginia, and is seeing speeds of around 15 to 25 Mbps, according to Fierce Wireless.

If the program reaches close to such numbers, AT&T will become the biggest fixed wireless provider in the United States.

Also, should the deployment be as large as expected, some fixed wireless suppliers will see a surge of business that dwarfs anything they have ever seen, especially in the U.S. market.

The question some of us have is whether TV white spaces could be a potential platform, even if AT&T has said it is looking at using some of its fourth generation Long Term Evolution network and spectrum.

Nor is it outside the realm of possibility that other new platforms and middle mile partners could emerge.

Both Google, with its Project Loon balloon-based access, as well as Facebook’s unmanned aerial vehicle program, envision operating as wholesale backhaul platforms, with mobile service providers as the last mile access providers.

None of those middle mile backhaul platforms obviates the need for an access link. But such middle mile platforms could help with the overall business model, which AT&T has said is untested.
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