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Battle of the Fiber Internet: AT&T GigaPower vs. Google Fiber
Battle of the Fiber Internet: AT&T GigaPower vs. Google Fiber

By Jennifer LeClaire
October 1, 2013 9:58AM

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The battle for Austin gigabit consumers isn't just between Google Fiber and AT&T GigaPower. C Spire is also in the running, recently announcing its plans to join the ultra-fast Internet race. Google started this war. Now as other competitors are joining in, things are going to start to change, said telecom industry analyst Jeff Kagan.
 



Look out Google, AT&T isn't taking your gigabit broadband onslaught lying down. The company has already started deploying a 100 percent fiber Internet broadband network in Austin that promises speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.

In December, AT&T plans to begin delivering U-verse with GigaPower, along with more advanced TV services and features. Initially reaching tens of thousands of customers in the Austin area, the company is planning to roll out the service more broadly in 2014.

"Austin embodies innovation and social consciousness, and is the heart of a vibrant, ever-evolving tech culture and entrepreneurial spirit," said Dave Nichols, president of AT&T Texas. "With our all-fiber U-verse services, we are building the foundation for a new wave of innovation for Austin's consumers, businesses, and civic and educational institutions. It's about engaging the full community and empowering the city and its people with all that technology can offer us. This investment will help attract new business and new jobs to Austin."

AT&T's Big Bid

AT&T plans to reach speeds up to 1 gigabit per second by mid-2014. In April, Google announced that its Google Fiber gigabit Internet service would roll out in Austin at speeds up to 1GBps by mid-2014. And so the race is on.

Google started its campaign in Kansas City, but AT&T chose Texas for its first bid. The December launch will feature speeds of up to 300 Mbps, the fastest upstream and downstream Internet speeds available in the Austin market. AT&T is also promising 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 PCs, among other perks.

U-verse with GigaPower complements AT&T's three-year Project Velocity IP investment plan to expand and enhance its wireless and wireline IP broadband networks to support growing customer demand for high-speed Internet access, advanced TV services, and new mobile and cloud services. AT&T plans to invest in the $21 billion range in 2013 and in the $20 billion range each year in 2014 and 2015.

The War May Rage

We turned to Jeff Kagan, a telecom industry analyst in Atlanta, for his take on the war for Austin gigabit consumers. But, he told us, the race isn't just between Google and AT&T. C Spire is also in the running, announcing its plans to join the ultra-fast Internet race last week.

"Google is not a network, yet they are getting into the high speed Internet business. AT&T already provides Internet and now will offer a much faster service," he explained. "C Spire is a wireless company that is moving beyond wireless with their wire line expansion."

Kagan rightly noted that super high speed Internet wasn't important five years ago. Now that the service is hitting the market, though, many consumers want it whether they need it or not. He is betting Verizon, CenturyLink, Windstream and other wire line carriers -- and wireless carriers like Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular -- will enter the high-speed race in due time because to sit on the sidelines would mean losing business.

"Google started this war. Now as other competitors like AT&T and C Spire are joining in, things are going to start to change," Kagan said. "Not only will speeds increase, but competition will mean speeds will continue to increase and prices should stay lower as well. That's very good news for business and consumer customers."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Red Smith:

Posted: 2014-06-03 @ 4:58pm PT
Guys wearing AT&T badges came to my door in south Austin last month promising fiber. By the time the deal was signed that was already DSL down to 18MBPS--the fastest available in my neighborhood. Proceeding was wholly my fault, but I was lured by the promise of saving a few bucks. What a terrible mistake. The Internet service is absolutely dreadful. I'm partying like it's 1999.

jnffarrell1:

Posted: 2013-10-06 @ 10:14am PT
Hard to believe than ATT did not know that regulators would allow it to compete once it unbundled TV and internet from telephony. All that Cherry Pickin' Google was just a cry for help from regulators ATT thought it controlled.

jnffarrell1:

Posted: 2013-10-04 @ 8:39pm PT
Many people need it whether they want it or not.



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