SOUTH BEND - AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has announced plans to expand trials of its fixed wireless 5G Internet service to businesses and residents in South Bend. The company says the trial, which is also taking place in Waco, Texas and Kalamazoo, Michigan, will help speed up full deployment of the service by the end of 2018.

AT&T has been running 5G trials in Austin, Texas with local businesses. The company says, thus far, it has seen Internet speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second and gathered important data on how things such as foliage, building materials, and weather impact the system.

"In Austin, we see all types of weather and substantial foliage," said Marachel Knight, senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design with AT&T. "Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G. And in doing so, we’re learning how to better design our network for the future."

AT&T says the trials in South Bend and the other markets could include participants from universities, hospitals, churches, restaurants and other small businesses. The trials are expected to begin by the end of 2017.

Last month, the company announced Indianapolis as the second market for its 5G Evolution service, along with Austin.