AT&T announces wireless internet service for parts of rural Cullman County


Sen. Paul Bussman cuts the ribbon to announce the official opening of fixed wireless internet service in west Cullman County. / W.C. Mann

BREMEN – At a press conference at a cellular tower in north Bremen near Smith Lake on Friday morning, AT&T announced the introduction of a new wireless broadband internet service that will provide high-speed internet to customers in remote parts of the county that previously have had to rely on satellite or dial-up internet.  Special equipment on certain cell phone towers will allow subscribing customers high-speed access to the web via a receiver mounted on their homes.

Dave Hargrove, regional director of external affairs for AT&T, explained, “What we’re announcing today is a new service that’s available to residents in the Bremen community, that will provide a fixed wireless internet service to residents out here who don’t currently have an internet option.  It enables residents to get 10 megabits per second average speed of internet access, which is more than adequate for many needs, especially in rural Alabama, where maybe they’ve been on dial-up or they’ve had to use satellite.”

Compared to satellite services, said Hargrove, “It’s a terrestrial product; so we’ve got it right here on an enabled LTE 4G cell site.  Fiber (optic cable) is fed to this site, and then the signal is a direct signal that goes to the subscriber’s home and beams the internet using wireless spectrum here in the Bremen community.”

At the press conference and ribbon cutting, which was attended by media, representatives of Cullman County Economic Development, the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce, the Cullman Economic Development Agency, State Rep. Corey Harbison, R-Good Hope and State Sen. Paul Bussman, R-Cullman, AT&T Associate Vice President for External Affairs Mickey Harbin explained that Cullman’s existing cellular infrastructure, with numerous towers clustered close together, made the area an ideal place to introduce the service.

“It’s a great product,” Harbin added, “it’s very reasonably priced, and the great thing about it is that it’s got a 160 gb data package.  That’s a lot of data that someone can use, so I think that’s the best part about it.”

Bussman told the group, “We’ve been talking to AT&T for a long time, and they’ve been telling us for a long time that they’re about to do this.  You never know what that ‘about to’ is, but right now we know it’s here.  To work and to go to school and have a business in the rural areas, you’ve got to have broadband.  You’ve got to have access to the internet now.  Everyone knows that any retail, any kind of business now needs that access.  So we’re so excited that it’s finally starting to get here. 

“Especially with Representative Harbison and I being in very rural districts, we don’t always have the luxury of having a Huntsville or a Decatur or a Montgomery.  And so, this technology right now is so important to us, and to the citizens of this area.  You know, people can move here, they can open up a home business, they can do legal work here, they can do any kind of work they want to do.  They don’t have to go find an area that they can do that in.  And so this should help expand growth out in this area.  It should help the schools, over time, because one of the big problems we have is, the children have access to the internet at school, and then they go home and don’t have access.  And so, that’s a disadvantage.  This technology is going to be a tremendous benefit to those citizens and those kids, so we’re real excited about it.”

Harbison added, “I want to thank y’all for y’all’s investment in Cullman County and rural Alabama.  As Senator Bussman said, it’s very important for our education system, because we’ve got the city of Cullman, and they have all of the infrastructure needed there, but we have a lot of rural county schools.

“You know, with Smith Lake we have some pretty expensive houses out here, and I know people who live in Birmingham who work from home, but would love to move up to the lake, but they can’t because of the high-speed internet.  So I think this is going to open up the door for a lot of things, and I think it’s going to help our real estate and our education system.”

AT&T issued a press release about the new project, which stated in part:

“AT&T plans to reach nearly 66,000 locations with this technology across Alabama by 2020 and, with this initial offering, Fixed Wireless Internet is available today in parts of rural communities throughout Alabama.”

“'I am thankful for the leadership of our elected officials who work to ensure a pro-consumer business environment and am delighted the rural residents of Cullman County are among the first in the nation to access this innovative technology,” said Cherrie Haney, director of Cullman County Economic Development.

“‘The more than 5,300 men and women who work for AT&T and call Alabama home, are proud to work with our local, state and federal leadership to provide the connectivity Alabama’s residents and businesses demand,” said Hargrove.  “Through this innovative service, we are helping close the remaining connectivity gap in Alabama.”

“The nine states where we have already launched service include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Louisiana.  Additional states where we plan to launch this year are Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.

“We will provide updates about additional availability in parts of Alabama, and other states, as we expand Fixed Wireless Internet to more locations.”

Customers who live in areas where AT&T Fixed Wireless Internet is available will be notified by mail of their eligibility.  Two towers are currently capable of providing the service, one north of Bremen near Smith Lake, and the other south of Arkadelphia.  A third local site opened at the same time in Winston County.  Other sites are to be added over the next three years.

For more information on Fixed Wireless Internet from AT&T, visit

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