Take that, Google: AT&T ups the ante with plans for its own Austin gigabit network

Written on:April 9, 2013
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AT&T plans to build a gigabit network in Austin, Texas according to a company release Tuesday. On any day this would be big news, but Google just announced its own plans to build a fiber to the home, gigabit network in the Texas capital. Looks like Google’s plans to tweak the incumbent broadband players is working — at least at the press release level.

Google’s Kevin Lo said earlier today that the Google network won’t be available until mid-2014 and it’s unclear when AT&T’s network will be rolled out. I’ve contacted AT&T for more details and will update the story when I have them. Currently AT&T provides a fiber to the node product called U-verse that offers speeds of up to 24 Mbps down. However, as Google expanded in Kansas City, it received some concessions around permitting that the incumbents later complained about.

As a result, both Time Warner Cable and AT&T were granted similar benefits in Kansas City. However, in Austin, the agreements that Google has signed with the City of Austin are no different than the ones that AT&T and Time Warner have signed according to Laura Morrison, an austin city councilwoman. Yet, AT&T in it’s release of the gigabit network seems to imply otherwise. From the release:

Today, AT&T announced that in conjunction with its previously announced Project VIP expansion of broadband access, it is prepared to build an advanced fiber optic infrastructure in Austin, Texas, capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. AT&T’s expanded fiber plans in Austin anticipate it will be granted the same terms and conditions as Google on issues such as geographic scope of offerings, rights of way, permitting, state licenses and any investment incentives. This expanded investment is not expected to materially alter AT&T’s anticipated 2013 capital expenditures.

As an Austin resident and broadband lover, I’m ecstatic that I might soon have not one, but two gigabit capable networks. Of course, with so little known about the cost, timing or the locations of either Google’s or AT&T’s network, I’ll wait to get out my party hat.

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