If fiber to the basement is profitable, why not wireless to the rooftop? I broke the story that a small N.Y. outfit, Skywire/Xchange, is doing G.fast over WTTR, Live from New York. It's G.fast with wireless backhaul. AT&T has been vocal they plan using G.fast, which is already in early deployments elsewhere and would work over both coax and existing telco twisted pair. I believe they are not using G.fast at this stage, although it will be a natural choice going forward.
AT&T's WTTR looks to be the same as Google's new Webpass division. Companies like Towerstream have been beaming mmWave to rooftops for commercial customers for more than a decade. Hundreds of wireless ISPs rely on mmWave backhaul as do most mobile towers around the world. The technology is old but few have done WTTR for consumers.
For $3,000, you can buy a pair of Ubiquiti radios to carry a gigabit. Siklu, which supplies Google/Webpass, and Ericsson have five gigabit units available with low latency.
Boris Maysel of Siklu tells me they will have 10 gig in a box next year. Put some of those on a fiber-fed tower or high rooftop. You can reach most of the rooftops in the neighborhood. It's usually much cheaper than digging up the streets for fiber, which can cost $10,000 and more per block.
AT&T has several million lines of satellite TV with roof access and wiring throughout the building, a natural for this kind of deployment. Their initial buildings are in Minneapolis. They are also planning Denver, Phoenix, and Seattle, where Century has only limited upgrades. I was surprised T is also discussing prime Verizon FiOS territory: Boston, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, and Washington D.C. The headline includes "Outside of Traditional Wireline Service Area."
They may switch to all G.fast to save the cost of running the copper. Unfortunately, G.fast is limited to 16 ports today. That requires multiple distribution points and special wiring in any large building. Adtran, Huawei, and Alcatel have been working on an external box for vectoring 48-96 lines. Their salesmen promised it would be ready around now. Those schedules have slipped, which may be why BT is slowing down until late next year.
T is getting scared as gigabit cable is spreading around the country. Ed Balcerzak expects WTTR will not just save money but will reach customers quickly. AT&T's current plan, fiber or G.fast to 12M by 2020, leaves more than two/thirds on older DSL. Cable should win most of those not soon upgraded. By 2018, more than 50M U.S. homes will have a gigabit. Jorge Salinger of Comcast has just said they will offer upstream speeds in the hundreds of megabits in 2017.
AT&T and Google are calling DSL/Ethernet to apartments fixed-wireless counter to the current meaning but the language may change at their request.
AT&T Trialing Fixed-Wireless Millimeter Wave to Deliver High-Speed Internet Outside of its Traditional Wireline Service Area
Apartment Residents in Minneapolis First to Enjoy AT&T Internet Outside of Wireline Service Area
Apartment and Multifamily Properties in Additional Metro Areas Under Consideration for Service
AT&T1 is trialing a point-to-point millimeter wave wireless technology that uses in-building wiring to deliver a 100 megabits per second connection accessible to each apartment unit.2 This first-of-its-kind trial for AT&T uses a combination of wired and wireless network technologies to provide these speeds to multiple apartment complexes in Minneapolis, outside of our traditional 21 state wireline service area.
We plan to make faster speeds available, likely a speed tier of 500Mbps, in these trial properties through this fixed-wireless solution.
“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,” said Ed Balcerzak, senior vice president, Commercial and Connected Communities, AT&T. “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.”
Residents in these trial properties can also enjoy our DIRECTV service. Our DIRECTV Advantage solution uses a single satellite dish on the building to send a video signal to a centralized distribution system for the property. This makes it possible to offer DIRECTV service in every unit without satellite dishes on balconies.
What is the fixed-wireless technology solution?
We’re using millimeter wave wireless technology to send a multi-gigabit signal from a central building connected to fiber to neighboring locations, and then connecting each unit over in-building wiring. This makes it possible for us to offer ultra-fast internet speeds to residents in the entire property at a fraction of the time and cost typically associated with making service available.
- Wireless: We’re extending ultra-fast internet speeds from a fiber-connected property to neighboring properties using small radio/antenna systems placed on the properties’ rooftops. Millimeter wave offers a high-capacity wireless signal that makes it possible to connect a neighboring residential property’s infrastructure to speeds of several gigabits per second.
- Wired: Once a neighboring building receives the multi-gigabit millimeter wave wireless signal, we convert it to an ultra-fast wired internet connection. We then use existing or new wiring in the property to offer internet access directly to each unit.
After customers in these properties sign up for service, they can plug their Wi-Fi router into an existing wall outlet to get internet service in their apartment.
What does this mean for residents outside of these trial properties?
Fixed-wireless millimeter wave technology gives us the ability to make ultra-fast internet speeds available to additional locations in less time and with less disruption. This is particularly true in apartment and multifamily communities.
We’re evaluating the expansion of this fixed-wireless millimeter wave solution to connect additional properties outside of our traditional wireline service area. Additional areas under consideration where we might connect more properties include, but are not limited to, Boston, Denver, New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle and Washington D.C.