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Google, AT&T Both Bringing Fiber Optic Networks to Austin

10 Apr, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Google confirmed it will launch a 1 gigabit high-speed fiber optic network in Austin in 2014 — the second major U.S. city following rollout of Internet service in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.

Similar to Kansas, Google will offer fiber optic service in three subscription plans, including 1 gigabit plus TV, 1 gigabit Internet or free basic Internet. 1 gigabit service in Kansas current sells for $120 a month, including TV service and $70 a month for high-speed Internet.

News Corp., Disney (including ESPN’s Texas Longhorn Network) and Time Warner’s Turner Networks have inked retransmissions deals with Google. Notable omissions include AMC Networks and HBO.

Google Fiber continually rates as the fastest ISP in the world, according to Netflix’s monthly ranking of ISPs delivering its subscription video-on-demand service.

“Austin is a big city,” Google said in a statement. “We’ll start working immediately — but since we need to build an entirely new infrastructure here, we have a lot of planning and engineering work to do before we can start connecting homes.”

Meanwhile, AT&T said it is also preparing to build an advanced fiber optic infrastructure in Austin capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.

AT&T said its fiber optic network would be available to Austin residents at the same terms and conditions as Google. The telecommunications giant said much of the reason for launching fiber optic service in Austin (besides competing with Google) was the region’s willingness to cooperate on issues such as geographic scope of offerings, rights of way, permitting, state licenses and investment incentives.

“Most encouraging is the recognition by government officials that policies which eliminate unnecessary regulation, lower costs and speed infrastructure deployment, can be a meaningful catalyst to additional investment in advanced networks which drives employment and economic growth,” CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement.

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