AT&T Rolling Out Fiber-Optic Network in Austin1 Oct, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Move aimed to counter Google Fiber’s first-mover position in the nascent ultra high-speed Internet market
AT&T has begun rolling out a 300 megabits per second (Mbps) fiber-optic broadband network in Austin, Texas, with plans to increase capacity to 1 gigabit (Gbs) by next year. AT&T plans to begin delivering AT&T U-verse with GigaPower to residents in December.
AT&T said gigabit speed would enable a user to download an HD movie in less than two minutes.
The service, which AT&T has not yet priced, will initially reach tens of thousands of customers throughout Austin and the surrounding areas this year, with additional local expansion planned in 2014.
The telecommunications giant said it would determine which neighborhoods and businesses to roll out GigaPower based in part on response to an online poll at www.att.com/austinfiber.
Consumers who register for 300Mbps speed will be able to upgrade to 1Gbs at no extra charge when available. The increased bandwidth allows for faster Wi-Fi speeds and the ability to schedule DVR recordings and watch hit TV shows on more than 30 smartphones and tablets, as well as the PC. Wireless customers also get 50GB of free cloud storage.
The move into Austin mirrors ongoing efforts by Google's rollout of its 1Gbs Google Fiber network in the region. The search behemoth, which is pricing the ultra high-speed broadband connection at $120 a month, is also eying similar rollout in Provo, Utah. It launched its first 1Gbs service in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., last year.
Speaking last week at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia confab in New York, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the telco would move aggressively in Austin, including working with local business leaders.
“The cost dynamics of deploying fiber have dramatically changed. The cost dynamics look good, the revenue implications look good, the market implications look good, so you’re going to see more of this over time, and I fully expect you’ll see us doing markets like this over the next few years,” Stephenson told analysts.