AT&T’s ‘GigaPower’ Coming To Dallas

CEO Says Plan Is To Launch Fiber-Fed, 1-Gig Service There This Summer
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AT&T likes the results it’s getting with its initial fiber-to-the-premises “U-verse with GigaPower” deployment in Austin so much that it is preparing to unleash the 1-Gig-capable platform in Dallas later this year. And that Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal might have a little something to do with that too.

“We are directing VIP investments to fiber-to-the-home deployment and, in fact, we are going to launch the service in Dallas this summer, company chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said Thursday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.

That will provide Time Warner Cable, Dallas’s incumbent cable operator, with a couple of months lead time to brace for it. TWC currently offers a 75 Mbps residential DOCSIS 3.0 service in Big D, along with a fiber-fed business service that offers multi-gigabit speeds.

VIP refers to Project Velocity IP, a three-year capex investment that covers its LTE deployment and the expansion of its U-verse footprint by an additional 8.5 million additional customer locations (it launched U-verse in August, Ga., this week), and U-verse speed upgrades. 2014 represents a “peak year” for VIP, the AT&T exec said.

AT&T launched GigaPower last December to pockets of Austin, where it’s starting off with symmetrical speeds of 300 Mbps, with plans to ratchet that up to 1 Gbps by mid-2014, the same time Google Fiber is slated to start connecting homes to its 1-Gig network. Grande Communications launched its 1-Gig service in the speed-happy city last month.

Like Google Fiber’s build-out approach, AT&T GigaPower is offering access on a demand-driven basis, asking residents to influence the fiber upgrade locations by voting on the Web. AT&T has not disclosed how many customers are on GigaPower, but has said it’s currently available ot “tens of thousands” of homes.

“The cost dynamics to this deployment [in Austin] have been really, really encouraging,” Stephenson said. “We are so encouraged that we want to begin taking this to other communities…[where] we can get the terms and conditions like we have in Austin.”

And there’s more to come, and the cable industry can thank the proposed Comcast-Time  Warner Cable merger in part for the additional love AT&T’s is spreading onto FTTP.

“In light of a new competitor…we are going to be a little more aggressive and assertive in deploying that technology around the country,” Stephenson said.

Earlier in the Q&A, he said the Comcast/TWC deal “is an industry redefining deal from our standpoint.”

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