AT&T Hopes to Disrupt Traditional ISPs With a DIRECTV NOW 5G Test




For many years the dream of a high speed wireless Internet service has been on the minds of many cord cutters: The idea that more Internet service providers could bring competition to your home market without the high cost of laying cables to every house in America was too good to be true.

If successful a wireless ISP could lower costs by creating real competition. Now it appears that AT&T is one step closer to this dream as they start testing 5G streaming of DIRECTV NOW in Austin, Texas.

The purpose of the DIRECTV NOW trial is to see how AT&T’s next-generation wireless network could replace a home broadband connection delivered by a cable company. Specifically, AT&T said it wants to see how it handles heavy amounts of video traffic. As part of the trial, AT&T said it will also test additional “next-generation entertainment services.” The company didn’t specify what those services will be.

“These trials are significant because they will be our first trials to use what we expect to be based upon the 5G New Radio specification being developed by the industry technology standards group 3GPP. Industry standards are important to enabling wide-scale 5G commercialization. The trials will test both mobile and fixed wireless solutions operating in mmWave spectrum accelerating commercial deployments in the 28 Ghz and 39 Ghz bands. (See “FCC Opens High Frequencies to Phone Companies,” July 14, 2016.) They will showcase new 5G radio mmWave technologies for increasing network capacity while achieving multi-gigabit data rates.” AT&T Said.

AT&T’s test of its 5G network as a cable replacement is just the beginning for the technology. The super fast speeds and low latency not only make it a great replacement for traditional wired broadband services, but it could also pave the way for connecting at least 100 billion devices to the Internet, enabling and improving a slew of smart monitoring sensors such as streetlights, traffic signals, and self-driving vehicles.

Sadly we are still early in the testing of 5G networks and many say we are likely looking at 2018 to just start to roll out 5G across America. A process that will likely take years.


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