AT&T announced today that they're going to acquire Straight Path Communications, a holder of a number of millimeter wave spectrum licenses in the US for $1.6 billion. This brings them one step closer to realizing their AirGig plans for last-mile data infrastructure.
If you aren't familiar with AT&T's implementation of mmWave tech we have a lot of information on the subject, but the short of it is AT&T wants to build out a network using existing infrastructure: power lines. By tossing repeaters on top they won't need to fight with cable companies for pole access (I drown in the irony) or spend money digging in new fiber networks. The mmWave spectrum might not penetrate as well as the lower-frequencies currently used by most carriers, but with an infrastructure backbone as ubiquitous as the US power grid all they will need is access points tossed at intervals on the lines to repeat the signal, and splice it in with their existing fiber where they can.
As we mention in our other article, this might not be a consumer-facing 5G implementation, but mmWave tech does allow for tens of gigabits up and down, and the frequencies purchased in this deal could always be pointed at consumers in the future. Either way, AT&T seems to be interested in expanding their network with it.
The deal is expected to cost AT&T $1.6 billion and should close within 12 months with FCC approval.