T-Mobile Expands Home Internet to More Than 450 Cities & Towns Left High-and-Dry by AT&T

No contract, $50 per month high-speed Internet access is rolling out to vast swaths of the country, including rural America, for both T-Mobile and non-T-Mobile customers alike

What’s the news: T-Mobile is throwing a lifeline to many communities being abandoned by AT&T. It’s expanding its $50 / month, no two-year contract Home Internet service into more than 450 cities and towns that AT&T is deserting. The Un-carrier is also opening the service to non-T-Mobile customers in these new areas.

Why it matters: Many parts of the country have extremely limited, slow Internet options and the pandemic has increased our reliance on Internet connectivity. AT&T dropping DSL service in those communities makes an already difficult situation that much worse.

Who it’s for: 20 million households in thousands of locations that are sick-and-tired of their Internet access provider jerking them around.

What AT&T takes away, T-Mobile brings back. Following news that AT&T is discontinuing DSL home broadband in many communities, T-Mobile is massively expanding its Home Internet pilot service to give another option to an additional 20 million households in parts of 450 cities and towns — many in rural America — being abandoned by AT&T in the middle of a pandemic when connectivity has never been more important. With this move, the Un-carrier is also expanding its Home Internet pilot to non-T-Mobile customers in these areas.

T-Mobile has been piloting Home Internet on its LTE network, as the Un-carrier prepares to launch 5G Home Internet across the country. And it’s clear the service is badly needed. 61 percent of rural households have no choice when it comes to high speed home broadband.

“We can’t stand idly by while AT&T leaves potentially millions with fewer home Internet options at a time when our connection to the Internet is so vital — for

SpaceX Is Providing Satellite Internet Service to Towns Hit by Wildfires

(Credit: Washington Emergency Management)

Residents in Washington state recovering from the wildfires are remaining online, thanks to SpaceX’s satellite broadband network. 

The company’s Starlink system has been supplying the emergency internet to residents in Malden, a town of about 200 people, where an estimated 80 percent of the homes have been destroyed by the wildfires.

On Monday, Washington’s Emergency Management Department tweeted a photo of a Starlink satellite terminal acting as a public Wi-Fi hotspot. “Malden, WA is an area where fiber and most of the town burned down. Without this equipment, it would have been much harder for folks to get internet in that area,” the department added in a follow-up tweet.  

“SpaceX provided seven terminals for our agency to use for free, where we saw the most need,” the state’s Emergency Management Department told PCMag. Other Starlink terminals are supplying emergency broadband around Bonney Lake, Washington, where some local residents were also forced to evacuate due to the wildfires. 

“The terminals are being used for free public Wi-Fi, but we also used them for incident command vehicles out at the Bonney Lake, WA wildfire,” the department added. “SpaceX has not given us a timetable on when they need the equipment back. They’ve been pretty generous.”

The department declined to answer questions about the speed and latency rates for the emergency internet, and instead told PCMag to ask SpaceX. But according to CNBC, the latency rates have been reaching about 30 milliseconds, which is on par with ground-based internet. 

“I have never set up any tactical satellite equipment that has been as quick to set up, and anywhere near as reliable,” Washington State Military Department’s IT division head Richard Hall told CNBC in an interview. 

SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But CEO Elon

SpaceX provides Starlink satellites to help Washington state towns get online after wildfires

Washington state emergency officials are using SpaceX satellites to provide internet access in Malden, Wash., after wildfires took out most of the small town in Eastern Washington. (Washington Emergency Management Division Photo)

SpaceX is lending a helping hand to Washington state towns ravaged by recent wildfires.

The Washington Emergency Management Division is using the company’s Starlink satellites to provide public WiFi access in Malden, Wash., where a wildfire destroyed 80% of the small town earlier this month. The satellites are also being used in Western Washington near Bonney Lake, Wash. SpaceX is providing the service for free.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responded to the tweet above:

Starlink is SpaceX’s broadband internet constellation that now consists of more than 600 spacecraft in low Earth orbit. SpaceX is nearing the start of a limited commercial service, which was promised as early as this year. Eventually, Starlink aims to provide global broadband internet access, and there are military applications as well. Amazon is also developing its own constellation called Project Kuiper.

The Starlink satellites are manufactured at the SpaceX facility in Redmond, Wash.

Steven Friederich, a public information officer with the Washington Emergency Management Division, said internet access in places such as Malden would be nearly impossible without the Starlink service. This is the first time the division has used the satellites.

“This is a device we could definitely utilize should we have more wildfires or even