CHICAGO, June 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AT&T* today unveiled its Illinois wired and wireless network investment plans for 2010, which include plans for more than 80 new cell sites and the upgrade of nearly 300 additional cell sites to 3G throughout the state.
The announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Pat Quinn's signing of the state's new modern telecommunications law designed to attract private sector investment in broadband and wireless to meet consumer demands and attract jobs across all sectors of the Illinois economy.
"With the stroke of a pen, Governor Quinn made Illinois an attractive place for AT&T to invest in broadband, wireless and emerging technologies," said Paul La Schiazza, president, AT&T Illinois. "His leadership in broadband coverage and job creation cannot be understated."
Public Act 96-0927, which updates Illinois' 25-year-old telecommunications law, was sponsored by State Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D – Orland Park) and State Sen. Michael Bond (D – Grayslake) and co-sponsored by State Rep. Mike Bost (R - Murphysboro) and State Sen. Randy Hultgren (R - Winfield). It passed the General Assembly unanimously. The law was crafted to attract private sector investment in new technologies by leveling the playing field for all telecommunications providers.
"Illinois has created more new jobs than any other Midwestern state this year, and we'll continue putting more people to work by encouraging new investment in the latest broadband and wireless technologies," said Governor Quinn, a long-time champion of broadband access. "Today's announcement ensures that more Illinois consumers and businesses across the state will have access to enhanced broadband technology, which is essential to expanding our 21st century economy."
The planned wireless network enhancement strategy is part of AT&T's 2010 wireline and wireless capital investment, which is expected to be in the $18 billion to $19 billion range companywide, assuming the regulatory environment remains favorable, an increase of between 5 and 10 percent over 2009. This planned amount also includes an increase of about $2 billion in capital expenditures for wireless and backhaul related to AT&T's wireless network.
From 2007 through 2009, AT&T's total capital investment in its Illinois wireless and wireline networks was nearly $3.6 billion. From 2007 through 2009, AT&T's wireless network investment in Illinois was nearly $975 million.
AT&T has also been working with policy makers to support a national broadband plan that ensures broadband access to every American by 2014. This significant investment in infrastructure and jobs is possible due to public policy that enables companies to compete and offer the innovative services that consumers are increasingly demanding.
"With his signature, Governor Quinn opened the doors to increased private sector investment in broadband, wireless and other new technologies for Illinois," said La Schiazza. "Governor Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the four legislatives leaders - Senate President Cullerton, House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, Senate Republican Leader Sen. Christine Radogno and House Republican leader Rep. Tom Cross - as well as every member of the General Assembly has in this new law created a positive economic environment to attract business and retain and grow jobs."
Today's announcement builds on AT&T's 2009 wireless investment, during which it added 70 new cell sites in Illinois and upgraded more than 220 existing sites to 3G. AT&T also completed a substantial upgrade of its 3G mobile broadband network in the Chicago area with the deployment of additional wireless spectrum in the 850 MHz band. More than 700 cell towers across the Chicagoland area were updated as part of the spectrum deployment. In addition, more than 40 strategically placed distributed antennas and microcell sites were upgraded to the 850 MHz spectrum in the downtown Chicago Loop to provide additional coverage.
Wireless data traffic on the AT&T network has grown more than 5,000 percent over the past three years, largely attributed to today's advanced smartphones that are generating dramatically increasing volumes of network traffic.
"We're seeing advanced smartphones driving up to 10 times the amount of usage of other devices on average," said Dave Fine, vice president and general manager for AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets in Illinois. "Despite these unprecedented increases in wireless data traffic, AT&T's network investments and upgrades have enabled us to continue to deliver the nation's fastest 3G network."
AT&T recently completed a software upgrade at 3G cell sites nationwide that prepares the nation's fastest 3G network for even faster speeds. The deployment of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology is the first of multiple initiatives in AT&T's network enhancement strategy designed to provide customers with an enhanced mobile broadband experience, both today and in the future.
In addition to the HSPA 7.2 software, initial deployment of backhaul is already underway in the six U.S. cities announced in 2009 as initial HSPA 7.2 markets, including Chicago, with capabilities being turned up on a site-by-site basis. Further backhaul deployment will continue in these markets and begin in additional markets throughout the nation.
Faster 3G speeds are scheduled to become available this year and in 2011 as AT&T combines the new technology with our second initiative to dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network.
The backhaul upgrades are also a key step in the evolution toward next-generation LTE mobile broadband technology. AT&T is designing its new backhaul deployments to accommodate both faster 3G and future LTE deployments. AT&T currently plans to begin trials of LTE technology this year, and to begin LTE deployment in 2011, matching industry time lines for broader availability of compelling devices and supporting network equipment.
AT&T's 3G mobile broadband network is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies that includes GSM and UMTS, the most widely used wireless network platforms in the world. AT&T offers 3G data roaming in more than 115 countries, as well as voice calling in more than 220 countries. The technology also provides customers the ability to talk and surf the Internet at the same time.
AT&T is also an industry leader in Wi-Fi with the nation's largest Wi-Fi network, which complements its wired broadband and wireless 3G networks, offering Wi-Fi connectivity in more than 20,000 U.S. hotspots — including retail stores and restaurants from coast-to-coast. A full list of AT&T Wi-Fi locations is available at www.attwifi.com.
AT&T operates nearly 70 AT&T-owned retail locations in Illinois. AT&T's products and services are also available at a number of other authorized dealers and national retail locations.
For more information about AT&T's wireless coverage in Illinois, or anywhere in the United States, consumers can go to http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/. The online tool can measure the quality of coverage based on a street address, intersection, ZIP code or even a landmark.
*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.
Largest Wi-Fi network claim based on non-municipal company and owned and operated hotspots. A Wi-Fi enabled device required. Other restrictions apply. See www.attwifi.com for additional services, details and locations.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest 3G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. A leader in mobile broadband, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T | DIRECTV brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. In 2010, AT&T again ranked among the 50 Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine.
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