AT&T Inc. has finished installing a large portion of its AT&T Fiber network in the Milwaukee area to offer ultra-fast Internet connections to area homes and businesses.
The telecommunications giant announced its plan to install the network, which uses fiber optic cable, in December 2015. Fiber optic cable can carry more information than the standard copper wire used in Internet networks. The installation process involved extending fiber cables the last few feet to terminate at many residences and businesses in the area. AT&T did not have specifics on how many Milwaukee-area locations are included in the network.
Parts of Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Waukesha and surrounding communities are now covered by AT&T Fiber, which has a 1 gigabit connection—about 20 times faster than the average cable customer’s Internet speed. Parts of West Allis are next on AT&T’s installation list, but potential expansion to other areas of southeastern Wisconsin has not been decided.
“The network that we’re talking about today is as we announced it,” said Scott VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “Whether it gets expanded over time or not will be a decision made down the road.”
The advantage of fiber networks for consumers is quicker downloads—such as a 90-minute HD movie in less than 34 seconds. And for businesses, fiber Internet speeds allow employees to more effectively telecommute and video conference, as well as more quickly complete tasks, such as uploading and downloading photos and videos and connecting to the cloud.
Milwaukee joins 46 other U.S. cities with fiber networks. AT&T plans to install the networks in a total of 67 metro areas, which will reach about 12.5 million individual locations by mid-2019.
AT&T invested more than $825 million in wireless and wireline networks in Wisconsin from 2013 to 2015 to improve reliability, coverage, speed and performance.
“Our customers are increasingly interacting with their world in more data-intensive ways,” said Scott VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “A growing number of people are streaming content directly from their devices, and interacting with family and friends through live videos. For these reasons, we’re bringing our fastest internet speeds to Milwaukee-area communities powered by AT&T Fiber.”
“The 100 percent fiber network from AT&T will contribute to our growing economy and quality of life in Milwaukee,” said Steve Baas, senior vice president of governmental affairs and public affairs at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. “Access to high-speed internet will help create new jobs, grow small businesses and improve access to educational opportunities.”