Two months after Google sent up trial balloons seeking incentives from expansion cities for its nascent high-speed Google Fiber network, AT&T is trying out the same approach. On Monday, AT&T issued a press release announcing a “major initiative” to expand its fiber network to up to 100 “candidate” cities and municipalities nationwide. According to the release, “The fiber network will deliver AT&T U-verse with GigaPower service, which can deliver broadband speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second and AT&T’s most advanced TV services, to consumers and businesses.”
Like Google’s earlier announcement, AT&T did not promise the company is actually expanding its fiber service to any of the cities. Rather, Google’s and AT&T’s announcements are efforts to see how various cities will respond–specifically, to see what incentives municipalities will offer for bringing the highly coveted service to their city.
In its press release, AT&T made such intentions clear, saying it “will work with local leaders in these markets to discuss ways to bring the service to their communities.”
According to CNET, “AT&T has already begun selling 300 megabits per second broadband service on a fiber-to-the-home network in Austin, Texas, and has plans to upgrade the service to 1Gbps download speeds later this year. The company has already announced plans to bring the gigabit broadband service to Dallas, and it’s in advanced talks to deploy the service in the Triangle region of North Carolina.”
Recognizing the business development advantage of having internet access at speeds up to 100-times faster than what most Americans currently have, some municipalities around the country aren’t waiting for Google, AT&T or other companies to get around to bringing fiber to their town. For example, the New York Times recently reported on the high-speed fiber network installed by Chattanooga, Tennessee’s taxpayer-owned utility company. Called “The Gig,” the network provides an internet access speed that “takes 33 seconds to download a two-hour, high-definition movie in Chattanooga, compared with 25 minutes.” Sheldon Grizzle, founder of a Chattanooga business startup incubator called Company Lab, told the Times, “(The Gig has) allowed us to attract capital and talent into this community that never would have been here otherwise.”
Google’s map of locations it is considering for Google Fiber expansion:
AT&T’s expansion-consideration map: