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AT&T to start rolling out 5G markets in Austin, Indianapolis


AT&T announced on Wednesday that it’s rolling out so-called 5G “evolution markets” in Austin and Indianapolis this summer, as part of a broader push to upgrade its networks.

This showcase markets will start out with theoretical peak speeds of 400Mbps. That’s five times faster than what AT&T currently offers in terms of wireless connectivity, AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch noted at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday. However, it doesn’t meet the typical standard for 5G, which is supposed to reach 1Gbps. AT&T said it expects to enable theoretical peak speeds of up to 1Gbps in some areas by the end of the year.

Additionally, the company announced it’s building two new 5G testbeds that will go on-air this spring at the AT&T Labs in Austin. This comes on the heels of the 5G network test AT&T launched at Intel’s Austin office last year.

The new testbeds will support the 5G trial it’s starting for DirecTV NOW customers in Austin. They include dedicated 5G outdoor and indoor test locations and will feature flexible infrastructure, allowing for updates as 5G standards develop.

AT&T announced its 5G developments as part of “Indigo” — its plan to upgrade and enhance its networks with 5G capabilities, software-defined networking, big data, AI and improved security.

As part of its Indigo rollout, AT&T also announced that its new goal of hitting 55 percent network virtualization by the end of 2017. The company has already converted 34 percent of its network functionality to SDN and is on track to hit 75 percent by 2020.

Additionally, AT&T announced that ECOMP, the orchestration platform created to power its software-defined network, will be part of an open source project hosted by the Linux Foundation.

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