AT&T Plans to Launch 5G Evolution in Minneapolis in Time for Big Game

Good news for Minneapolis, from AT&T for the Superbowl – here’s the press release…

AT&T plans to launch 5G Evolution in parts of Minneapolis in the coming months. It will provide its latest network technology in some parts of the city, including areas near the host stadium, in time for the Big Game in February.

 

Minneapolis is one of 20 markets where we plan to bring AT&T 5G Evolution by the end of the year, with this technology already available in parts of Austin and Indianapolis today. 5G Evolution offers customers a taste of the future of entertainment and connectivity on their devices.

 

In 5G Evolution markets, we upgrade cell towers with network upgrades that include ultra-fast LTE Advanced features like 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and 3-way carrier aggregation. These features, together with other upgrades, are providing faster speeds and a better customer experience.

 

With the LG V30, Moto Z2 Force Edition, Samsung Galaxy Note8, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8+, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, AT&T wireless customers in 5G Evolution markets can use these 3 technologies simultaneously. This makes it possible to take full advantage of the wireless experience. We’ll have more 5G Evolution capable devices in the coming months.

 

“We’re excited about launching this new wireless network in Minneapolis in the coming months as we move towards standards-based mobile 5G,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design. “The upgrades we’re making today in Minneapolis are the foundation for the future of next generation connectivity in this city.”

 

We’re aggressively deploying equipment and investing in the right mix of spectrum and technology while 5G standards are still being finalized. We’re working with more than a dozen global technology companies to deploy 5G. And we’re are an industry leader finalizing 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless standards requirements by the end of the year. These standards will enable chipset development for global 5G.

 

This is a major step on our journey to deliver standards based 5G mobile networks as soon as late 2018.

 

We’ve been working closely with the city of Minneapolis to ensure its network is ready to support the technology of the future. The investments we’re making prepare us for the future of 5G and innovations like smarter cities and immersive entertainment experiences over augmented and virtual reality.

“Minnesota is in a great position to welcome 5G Evolution wireless technology, with a climate that encourages the deployment of small cells – an integral building block for 5G,” said State Senator Bobby Joe Champion.  “Good public policy can help put Minnesota on the map and attract investment that will prepare our state for the next generation wireless economy.”

“It’s no surprise Minneapolis was chosen as a market for 5G Evolution,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president and CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association.  “Minnesota is well on its way to becoming one of the country’s top five states in science and technology, with a strong innovation economy, talented tech workforce and fast growing tech companies.  These ultra-fast speeds from AT&T will help power tech innovation and boost Minnesota’s competitiveness.”

 

Adding these LTE Advanced technologies to the wireless network in Minneapolis is just one of the ways we’re investing to improve the customer experience in the area.

 

From 2014-2016, we invested nearly $350 million in our Minnesota wireless and wired networks. These investments drive a wide range of upgrades to reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for Minnesota consumers and businesses. They also enhance critical services that support public safety and first responders.

 

In 2016, we made 1,271 wireless network upgrades in 272 communities across Minnesota. This includes adding new cell sites and network capacity to existing cell sites. Continuing to expand our network in the area gives AT&T the most wireless coverage in Minnesota.

 

Besides upgrading the network in and around downtown Minneapolis, we’re also making significant upgrades to Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at the Big Game host stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The DAS at the stadium is future-ready.  That means we’ve overloaded the stadium with wireless capacity and boosted LTE capacity by more than 150% compared to last year. With more than 800 antennas, the network inside the stadium alone could provide coverage to the entire city of Minneapolis.

 

Our Progress on the Path to 5G

 

Small cells are also an important ingredient on our path to 5G.  We’ve already installed a number of small cells in Minneapolis and plan to add more in the next few months.

 

The payoff of our 5G network will be limitless for our customers. Lab trials are already reaching speeds up to 14 gigabits-per-second with fixed wireless 5G technologies. We’ll continue advancing 5G in our AT&T Labs locations and in field trials. And we plan to delve further into the role of software-defined networks and 5G.

 

*About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.** We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.

AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and YouTube at youtube.com/att

CenturyLink expands internet access to parts of Kanabec County

According to the Kanabec Times

Rural residents that have struggled to find ways to access the internet from their homes may be in luck as Century Link is expanding services to include an additional 1,400 homes in the Braham area, and 3,000 homes in the Mora area.

While this will boost internet access and speeds in under-served areas, Doyle Jelsing of the Kanabec Broadband Initiative said it still isn’t ideal.

“This is a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go,” he said. Jelsing explained that even though Century Link advertises speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, actual speeds tend to vary. For Jelsing, he had hoped upload speeds would be considered equally as important as download speeds. While download speeds help consumers who are interested in streaming video, upload speeds are essential for supporting local businesses that need to send data —not just receive it.

While 10 Mbps bandwidth will be a huge improvement for those with no wired internet options, it’s still below the FCC’s definition of broadband which is 25Mbps download / 3Mbps upload.

“We welcome the improvement,” Jelsing said. “However, time will work against us as the need for broadband increases.”

CenturyLink news: Acquisition of Level 3 on track; Court ordered to improve pricing transparency for customers

CenturyLink is in the news. It’s in the news for its upcoming merger with Level 3

CenturyLink expects to complete its acquisition of Level 3 by Wednesday this week, as the Federal Communications Commission has given the merger its final approval.

Here are some details on the companies…

CenturyLink has nearly six million Internet customers in the US, but most of its $4.1 billion in quarterly revenue comes from selling network services to businesses. The company’s revenue has been declining, and it faces several lawsuits alleging that CenturyLink customers were charged for services they didn’t order.

Level 3 sells network services to businesses only. About 76 percent of the combined company’s revenue is expected to come from business customers.

And CenturyLink is required to be more transparent and stick to pricing offered to customers…

An Anoka County judge has ordered CenturyLink to be more transparent about its prices and fees — including sticking to the prices it initially quotes to customers buying phone, internet and cable packages.

The court order on Friday from Anoka County Chief Judge Chief Judge Douglas Meslow was prompted by a lawsuit filed in July by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.

The judge’s order, written with input from both Swanson and CenturyLink attorneys, does not amount to a judgment on whether or not CenturyLink did engage in unlawful business practices.

The lawsuit by the DFL attorney general compiled 37 stories from some of the “hundreds” of people Swanson said contacted her office with stories of CenturyLink’s attempts to bill them for charges they hadn’t agreed to, or refusal to honor deals offered by the company’s salespeople.

Swanson’s case, which also seeks civil penalties for CenturyLink and restitution for customers who were misled by the company, is still moving forward in court.

If you have any questions about your service with CenturyLInk you might want to keep it on your radar…

If a judge eventually orders CenturyLink to pay back people who said they were unfairly billed by the company, it’s unclear how many people might share in that restitution.

The attorney general said her office received a “tsunami” of additional complaints after the July announcement about the lawsuit.

Kandiyohi County gets fixed wireless broadband

According to the West Central Tribune

LTD Broadband spent the summer months building broadcast tower sites across the county and is now offering high-speed internet to rural homes and businesses.

So far, 31 towers have been built, with seven more scheduled for completion this fall.

When completed, nearly every rural location in the county will have wireless access to broadband with speeds up to 25 megabits per second, the company said in a news release. Business-dedicated connections will be available at up to 500 Mbps. The company offers plans capable of streaming high-definition video with unlimited data for $30 a month.

The article alludes to Kandiyohi’s earlier plan for broadband…

Kandiyohi County officials had hoped to meet some of the need with a $4.9 million border-to-border grant from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Technology. The project, in partnership with Consolidated Telecommunication Co. of Baxter, would have brought fiber lines to 1,600 homes and businesses in rural north-central Kandiyohi County.

The project fell apart this past summer, however, when not enough customers signed up and made deposits to make it financially viable for Consolidated Telecommunication.

What goes into a decision for municipal broadband?

There is a pretty damning letter to the editor in the Med City Beat that discusses broadband in Rochester MN and access to information and/or access to the Mayor…

Recently it was announced that the Rochester Public Utility would examine the possibility of investing in city-wide broadband service. Already successfully implemented in hundreds of medium sized cities nationwide, municipal broadband aims to treat high-speed internet access as a public utility. Recently RPU presented its initial findings to the city council. It estimated the cost of the program in the range of $53 million. The council will need to authorize a market study to move the process forward.

But on August 31, at the request of Mayor Brede, City Administrator Steve Kvenvold forwarded an email to all members of the council regarding broadband. The mayor aimed to influence members by sharing with them an email exchange between himself and Douglas Palmer, the Director of Urban Development & Government Affairs for the national Mayors Business Council. The mayor’s email included a Wall Street Journal article and a “survey” by the group Public Opinion Strategies. The email is linked here in pdf.

Brede does not disclose it but the source of the email, the Mayors Business Council, includes amongst its official members, Comcast, Cox and Verizon. Palmer himself is a lobbyist specializing in intergovernmental and corporate consulting. Even more egregious, Ron Orlando, the Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast Cable, currently sits on the Steering Committee of the Mayor’s Business Council. Comcast’s Ron Orlando is also a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures, which in 2014threatened to sue the Federal Communications Commission if it attempted to invalidate state laws that restrict the ability of cities to build municipal broadband. In simple terms, the source of the email Mayor Brede shared with the council comes directly from the spokesman for an organization which counts a Comcast executive in leadership, an executive who has actively worked to stop municipal broadband programs.

The story goes on – as do the accusations. It leads to a question I think many community leaders and elected officials have – where can you go for information on broadband? Broadband can be difficult to understand. The technology changes. The policy changes depending on the medium – so phone, cable, wireless, satellite – they all are asked to play by different rules.

The people who are most often in the know as far as technology advancements and political nuances are in the industry; however they also have a vested interest in how things happen.

So what’s a engaged citizen to do? Pay attention. Look at who is writing/funding the reports. Try to get multiple opinions. The Blandin Broadband conference is happening later this week. I’ll try to take notes and share video. They usually have a good swath of people. And when invited I try to take notes at other conferences in town too.  Municipal broadband can be a tough climb – but even when it appears to be bumpy folks are often happy with the decision to move forward.

AT&T Brings Faster Network to Southwest Minnesota

Looks like good news for SW MN…

4G LTE Expansions Means Better Mobile Internet Access for Customers in 25 Communities 

MANKATO, Minn. Oct. 13, 2017 — AT&T* made 26 individual network updates to cell towers on its 4G LTE network in 25 southwest Minnesota communities.

The communities include Adrian, Belgrade, Brooten, Buffalo Lake, Ellendale, Fairfax, Fairmont, Glencoe, Granite Falls, Hutchinson, Jasper, Lafayette, Lake Lillian, Litchfield, Luverne, Madelia, Madison, Minneota, New London, Owatonna, Pennock, Raymond (2), Springfield, Willmar and Winthrop. (In the following counties: Micollet, Martin, Kandiyohi, Stearns, Brown, Steele, Sibley, Nobles, Yellow Medicine, Renville, Meeker, Mcleod and Lac qui Parle.)The new and upgraded towers give customers faster, more reliable wireless service.

We also have up to a dozen more updates planned in southwest Minnesota by the end of the year, including in Mankato.

Additionally AT&T made 79 baseband network upgrades in 66 communities in southwest Minnesota. Baseband upgrades will help us reach faster network speeds and implement the next generation of wireless technology.

The communities include Adrian, Alpha, Appleton, Beaver Creek, Belgrade, Bellingham, Benson, Bird Island, Buffalo Lake, Canby, Chandler, Clara City, Clarkfield, Cold Spring, Comfrey, Cosmos, Cottonwood, Dassel, Fairfax, Glenwood (2), Granite Falls, Hancock, Hills, Hoffman, Holmes City, Hutchinson, Jackson, Jasper, Jeffers, Kensington, Kimball, Lake Benton, Lake Wilson, Lakefield, Litchfield (2), Luverne (2), Madison (2), Marshall (2), Melrose, Montevideo, Morris, Mountain Lake, New London, Ortonville, Paynesville, Pennock, Pipestone, Raymond (2), Redwood Falls (2), Regal, Rockville, Saint James, Sanborn, Slayton, Sleepy Eye, South Haven, Spicer (3), Springfield, Tracy, Tyler, Vesta, Westbrook, Willmar (4), Windom, Winthrop and Worthington (2). (In the following counties: Pipestone, Renville, Swift, Lyon, Stearns, Nobles, Murray, Lac qui Parle, Rock, Brown, Grant, Douglas, Stevens, Meeker, Lincoln, McLeod, Sibley, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Pope, Watonwan and Redwood.)

4G LTE lets customers stream videos, share on social media or text family and friends easier. We’re also boosting network speeds and capacity as we expand the availability of our network.

“We want our customers to have a great mobile experience. Thanks to this investment, southwest Minnesota residents and businesses can now enjoy faster mobile speeds than ever before on our 4G LTE network — which is the nation’s best data network**,” said Paul Weirtz, president of AT&T Minnesota. “We’re always working to provide better coverage. And these investments in our wireless network in southwest Minnesota helps accomplish that.”

“The AT&T investment in upgrades to its wireless network strengthens the connectedness that highlights our region as a competitive business and talent destination,” said Jonathan Zierdt, President & CEO of Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.  “Businesses and talent are continually seeking out the very best amenities, and AT&T’s investment strengthens our amenities portfolio.”

From 2014-2016, we invested nearly $350 million in our Minnesota wireless and wired networks. These investments drive a wide range of upgrades to reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for Minnesota consumers and businesses. They also enhance critical services that support public safety and first responders.

In 2016, we made 1,271 wireless network upgrades in 272 communities across Minnesota. This includes adding new cell sites and network capacity to existing cell sites. Continuing to expand our network in the area has given AT&T the most wireless coverage in Minnesota.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward- looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise. 

*About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network** and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider. We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.

Frontier is going wireless for its CAF 2 commitment

Doug Dawson of CCG reports on Frontier’s decision to build wireless network with their CAF 2 funding…

Frontier Communications just announced that they are testing the use of wireless spectrum to complete the most rural portions of their CAF II build-out requirement. The company accepted $283 million per year for six years ($1.7 billion total) to upgrade broadband to 650,000 rural homes and businesses. That’s a little over $2,600 per location passed. The CAF II program requires that fund recipients increase broadband to speeds of at least 10 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up.

He outlines the good and the bad about the technology…

I have mixed feelings about using federal dollars to launch this technology. On the plus side, if this is done right this technology can be used to deliver bandwidth up to 100 Mbps, but in a full deployment speeds can be engineered to deliver consistent 25 Mbps download speeds. But those kinds of speeds require an open line-of-sight to customers, tall towers that are relatively close to customers (within 3 – 4 miles) and towers that are fiber fed.

But when done poorly the technology delivers much slower broadband. There are WISPs using the technology to deliver speeds that don’t come close to the FCC’s 10/1 Mbps requirement. They often can’t get fiber to their towers and they will often serve customers that are much further than the ideal distance from a tower. Luckily there are many other WISPs using the technology to deliver great rural broadband.

The line-of-sight issue is a big one and this technology is a lot harder to make work in places with lots of trees and hills, making it a difficult delivery platform in Appalachia and much of the Rockies. But the technology is being used effectively in the plains and open desert parts of the country today.

And why this may not be best use of federal funding…

I see downsides to funding this technology with federal dollars. The primary concern is that the technology is not long-lived. The electronics are not generally expected to last more than seven years and then the radios must be replaced. Frontier is using federal dollars to get this installed, and I am sure that the $2,600 per passing is enough to completely fund the deployment. But are they going to keep pouring capital into replacing radios regularly over time? If not, these deployments would be a sick joke to play on rural homes – giving them broadband for a few years until the technology degrades. It’s hard to think of a worse use of federal funds.

There are people who do wireless well. If federal funding is going to be spent on wireless, it’s too bad it can’t be shifted to those folks who make it their business to serve rural areas well with wireless solutions.