AT&T is trying to appeal more to its rural user base and as such it has launched fixed-in-place cellular access in a hefty eight more states — a move that will bring broadband internet to 70,000 locations that otherwise may not have had any good internet coverage.
The company isn’t quite done yet — it has a goal of launching its service in a massive 400,000 locations before the end of 2017, and its most recent announcements bring it a whole lot closer to meeting that goal.
“We’re committed to connect hard-to-reach locations to the internet. This changes lives and creates economic growth for these areas,” said Cheryl Choy, vice president of wired voice and internet products at AT&T, in a statement. “We’re excited to bring this service to even more underserved locations.”
As is the case in other locations, the company will now offer a $60-per-month LTE connection with 160GB of data. After that 160GB, users will be able to pay $10 for an extra 50GB. AT&T says it will offer speeds of at least 10Mbps — which isn’t all that fast, and actually doesn’t even meet the FCC’s definition of broadband — but it is better than what was on offer in the area already.
The states serviced in AT&T’s new coverage include Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Louisiana. In total, AT&T will launch expanded service in 18 states, and on top of the ones already mentioned it will also include California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.
AT&T isn’t the only company attempting to expand its coverage to more rural areas. Charter has been looking to expand as well, however it may not need to expand as much as it otherwise would have. That’s because the Federal Communications Commission recently rolled back a requirement for Charter to expand to 2 million new subscribers within five years. That requirement was put in place as part of the Time Warner-Charter merger that was announced last year, and that will see the two companies being rolled into a new Charter.
In any case, it’s nice to see more rural areas finally getting better broadband access — and hopefully more than one company will expand into each area so that customers have choices and so that there is a little competition in the market.