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Techwars: AT&T Tries to Move Into Cities Before Google Fiber Does

After launching its fiber-optic Internet service, Gigapower, in Austin, Texas, in December and announcing earlier this month plans to bring it to six cities in North Carolina, AT&T has just announced a proposal to add 21 more cities, including major markets such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta. AT&T’s service will provide speeds up to 1 gigabit per second, 100 times faster than standard Internet services, including its own U-verse service.

With Gigapower, AT&T is going head to head with Google, which has been working on and talking about fiber-optic Internet for quite some time. After getting started with Kansas City, Mo., in 2013, then Provo, Utah, and Austin throughout 2013, Google announced 34 new cities up for consideration for the lineup in February.

As we previously surmised, AT&T is likely racing to reach Google’s planned cities first in order to establish its presence before Google gets there. And although when it announced its first stop in Austin — it was only offering 300 megabits per second — it guaranteed a free upgrade to 1 gigabit the following year as a selling point.

Gigapower includes bundles for Internet, cable TV and voice service, and its current rates in Austin are $70 per month for Internet only, $120 per month for cable TV as well and $150 per month for Internet, cable TV and unlimited voice service. Not shockingly, Google Fiber’s prices are the same ($70 per month for Internet, $120 per month for cable TV as well, and all plans include a $30 “construction fee”).

And as usual, the 21 cities are only “proposed” for the time being. AT&T will have to work with local officials in order to get approval.


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2 thoughts on “Techwars: AT&T Tries to Move Into Cities Before Google Fiber Does

  1. Franklin Pierce says:

    Don't be fooled by these "Gigabit" offerings. Gigabit speed does NOTHING for the home user. Ten to fifteen MEGABITS is plenty of speed to deliver multiple HD video streams. Gigabit speed only helps businesses.

    What we have to guard against is METERED BILLING. Multiple credible studies have shown that metered billing for internet usage is price gouging and a total rip-off. Internet usage is not like groceries or gasoline–it does NOT cost the monopoly supplier incrementally more to deliver more bits. Your basic monthly fee (which is very profitable) covers all the coax cable and cheap commodity hardware to deliver the service–that is, if they invest as they should in "their" system. Monopolists throughout history tend to create artificial scarcity–so they can price their product higher and invest not one penny more than they have to. All monopolies do this.

    GIgabit speed doesn't matter to you. Metered billing and throttling competitor services DOES matter to you. Your Netflix bill is going to go up because of the practices of Comcast. Gigabit speed doesn't matter to you if you have to turn it off on the 12th of every month because you can't afford the gigabits.

    Write to everybody you can think of (Congress, the FCC, state legislators) and sign every petition you come across. Don't let this happen to us. Other countries are laughing at us for this.

  2. Franklin Pierce says:

    John Tracy Not so fast. Who downloads a movie? Not nearly as many as just stream it. I have six Roku's with at least two people using all the time. No buffering with a 20Mbps line. But that's neither here nor there. It's metered billing that will get you. Where Comcast has implemented cap-and-meter, here's their plan: Some basic fee ($40-60) for basic service including 250 Gigabytes/month. Then, $10 for each 50 Gigabytes above that. I have a traffic-meter on my router and I regularly use 550 to 750 Gigabytes/month. This is for Netflix, Vudu, Crackle, Hulu, and MLB baseball games, and surfing. So, do the math: I'd get the same 20Mbps at $50 per month plus 6 50GIgabyte chunks at $10 each, for a grand total of $110 per month. Paid to a monopoly for something that costs them, studies show, maybe $10 to $20 tops, all in. Sound good to you?

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