AT&T building

AT&T and Amarillo have a tentative agreement on a $24 million symmetrical 5 Gbps fiber network build that will pass 22,000 homes, businesses and government agencies in the Texas city.

The agreement must be approved by the city and a final contract between it and AT&T signed for the project to be undertaken. AT&T says that planning and engineering work will begin upon execution of the contract for the network.

“This is an important milestone for the city of Amarillo and the state of Texas to show how public-private partnerships can help close the digital divide.” Fred Maldonado, the Regional Vice President, AT&T Texas said in a press release. “We have a long history of connecting businesses and residents in Amarillo, and we look forward to working with the city of Amarillo on making plans to bring high-speed internet to those who need it most.”

An AT&T spokesperson said the city of Amarillo is expected to contribute $2 million to project costs, including funding made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), while AT&T will contribute $22.2 million.

This isn’t the first time the city has tapped ARPA funding.

Last December, Amarillo said that it would use ARPA funding to build a fixed wireless access network (FWA) to serve the Texas panhandle region.

Rich Gagnon, the managing director and chief information officer for the city, told Telecompetitor at the time that a particular concern was about 12,000 refugees who have settled in the city.

The plan is to provide service to all schools in the Amarillo school district and to about 10,000 students. Amarillo already had a pilot in place: A FWA access point at the top of a seven-story police building had provided symmetrical speeds greater than 100 Mbps in the unlicensed 5 GHz band. The technology also can be used in the 6 GHz band.

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.

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