Faster and faster: AT&T brings 4G LTE speed to Blount
From Staff Reports
AT&T has turned on its 4G LTE network in parts of Blount County, including Alcoa and Maryville, bringing customers the latest generation of wireless network technology.
A ribbon-cutting with AT&T executives and state and local elected officials was held Thursday at the AT&T Retail Store in Alcoa, 234 Hamilton Crossing Drive.
“This is just the initial blush,” Alan Hill, regional director, external affairs, AT&T Tennessee, said prior to the event.
By 2014, as the company expands services within the 22 states AT&T serves, 99 percent of its customers will have access to 4G LTE or broadband Internet service, according to Hill.
Thursday was all about 4G LTE.
“It’s really good news because it’s super fast when you look at the data download time,” Hill said.
LTE is short for long-term evolution — which does not mean much to customers.
What is important is that it is the hottest and fastest way to send data from cell towers to phones and other devices.
Basically, 4G LTE offers:
• Faster speeds — LTE technology is capable of delivering mobile Internet speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. Customers can stream, download, upload and game faster than ever before.
• New devices — AT&T offers several LTE-compatible devices, including new AT&T 4G LTE smartphones and tablets, such as the Sony Xperia TL, LG Optimus G, Samsung Galaxy S III, Motorola ATRIX HD, HTC One X, Nokia Lumia 900, Samsung Galaxy Note and the Pantech Element tablet.
• Faster response time — LTE technology offers lower latency, or the processing time it takes to move data through a network, such as how long it takes to start downloading a webpage or file once you’ve sent the request.
Lower latency helps to improve services like mobile gaming, two-way video calling and telemedicine.
• More efficient use of spectrum — Wireless spectrum is a finite resource, and LTE uses spectrum more efficiently than other technologies, creating more space to carry data traffic and services and to deliver a better network experience.
AT&T invested nearly $1.3 billion in its Tennessee wireless and wireline networks from 2009 through 2011 to improve the company’s mobile Internet coverage and performance of its networks.
Officials on board
Several local officials attended the ribbon-cutting and had prepared statements for the occasion.
“Blount County is thriving and a great place to do business,” said Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell. “Large and small businesses have a home here, and AT&T’s investment and launch of 4G LTE reflects their confidence in our county and adds next-generation capabilities for our businesses and consumers.”
“Today’s announcement is proof that consumers benefit when we create policies that favor investment in Tennessee,” said state Sen. Doug Overbey.
“This is an investment in our future,” said state Rep. Bob Ramsey. “In an information-driven economy, the ability for people of Blount County to have access to the latest communications technology is critical.”
“Thanks to the leadership of our state delegation and local elected leaders, we are seeing companies invest in technology which is essential for recruiting companies here in Blount County,” said Bryan Daniels, CEO of the Blount Partnership.
“This announcement proves that updating our laws to keep up with changing technology pays off,” said state Rep. Art Swann. “This is wonderful news to have 4G LTE in Blount County and in the Maryville/Alcoa area.”
Hill said demand for mobile Internet is skyrocketing.
“Our 4G LTE network in Blount County responds to what customers want from their mobile experience — more, faster, on the best devices,” Hill said.