AT&T plans to expand its high-speed fiber-optic Internet service to as many as 21 new US metro areas. It’s claiming speeds of up to one gigabit per second with its U-Verse with GigaPower system, which is only available in Austin, Texas, today.
After years of slowing its rollout of faster Internet connections, what’s the rush? Thank Google, whose first location for Google Fiber high-speed Internet was Kansas City, in the heart of AT&T’s local-service area. Now Google is expanding to Provo, Utah, and Austin, and recently announced that it was exploring adding more cities like Atlanta, Georgia; San Jose, Calif.; and San Antonio, Texas.
All three of those cities are on the AT&T’s list. Coincidence? Here’s the full list of areas where AT&T is considering deploying U-verse with GigaPower, on top of Dallas, Texas, and the Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem regions in North Carolina:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Augusta, Georgia
- Fort Lauderdale
- Ft. Worth
- Greensboro, North Carolina
- Kansas City
- Los Angeles
- Oakland, Calif.
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- St. Louis
It’s not just Google: AT&T also has an eye on its cable competitors in those markets. (While Verizon also has a high-speed fiber-optic Internet service, Fios, it doesn’t serve the same areas as AT&T.)
How fast is a gigabit per second? AT&T says it’s fast enough to download an HD film in just 36 seconds.
But before everyone races to their Netflix subscription, AT&T isn’t exactly promising high-speed Internet. Instead, it seems to be negotiating in public.
AT&T says that “communities that have suitable network facilities, and show the strongest investment cases based on anticipated demand and the most receptive policies will influence these future selections and coverage maps within selected areas.”
In other words, it’s looking for areas with governments that will smooth the way for AT&T in terms of permits, approvals, and possibly economic incentives.
Demand for U-Verse with Gigapower in the Austin area, which began in 2013, has been higher than initially thought, AT&T said. We can expect to hear more when AT&T announces its first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.
Update: A previous version of this post mistakenly referred to AT&T’s gigabit service has having one gigabyte per second speed. The error is regretted.