AT&T is launching a major initiative to invest in high-speed fiber broadband for nearly 100 U.S. cities, identifying 21 major metropolitan regions, with four in Florida, as leading candidates.
In addition to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas, service candidates include Florida cities of Orlando, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
The program, which will deliver AT&T U-verse with GigaPower services, offers consumers and businesses both advanced TV signals and lightning-fast broadband speeds of up to one Gigabit per second.
“We’re delivering advanced services that offer consumers and small businesses the ability to do more, faster, help communities create a new wave of innovation, and encourage economic development,” said Lori Lee, senior executive vice president, AT&T Home Solutions. “We’re interested in working with communities that appreciate the value of the most advanced technologies and are willing to encourage investment by offering solid investment cases and policies.”
AT&T will work with community leaders in the various markets to establish service in their regions based on appropriate network facilities and anticipated demand.
This initial rollout will become a blueprint for future selections and coverage maps within selected areas.
Lee added that the initiative is part of the telecommunications giant’s ongoing commitment to economic development, which they expect will create jobs, advanced technologies and infrastructure.
Observers see AT&T’s move as a response to Google’s arrival in the broadband provider market. In February 2010, Google announced it was getting proposals and bids for Google Fiber, an all-fiber network.
Kansas City won the bid and became the Google’s first gigabit fiber network in 2012. The company has plans to expand the system to cities such as Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah. Google recently announced it is considering adding Google Fiber in an additional 34 areas.
AT&T’s U-verse uses advanced IP technology and a network of fiber-optic technology beyond the capabilities of traditional cable, becoming the cornerstone of AT&T’s commitment to fiber infrastructure. Services will include Internet speeds reaching up to one Gigabit per second, becoming the fastest consumer Internet available. Gigabit speeds allow downloading full HD movies online in as little as 36 seconds, 25 songs in one second, and TV shows in less than 3 seconds.
Users can access advanced the AT&T Total Home DVR service, to record and watch multiple shows simultaneously, with expanded DVR storage capacity. Wi-Fi speeds will provide the ability to schedule DVR recordings and watch hit TV shows on a variety of smartphones and tablets, as well on a PC.
Small businesses will have the ability to upload, download and share large data files and images, backup data remotely and use enhanced videoconference services.
The new approach will be in addition to AT&T’s current investment plans for 2014, bringing the wired IP broadband network to as many as 57 million customers in a 22-state wireline network by the end of 2015.
Pricing for U-Verse with GigaPower service in the new markets have not been announced, but in Austin, where U-Verse with GigaPower is already in use, the price ranges the same as Google Fiber, about $70 a month.