Taking another page from the Google Fiber playbook, AT&T said it is in talks, but isn’t yet guaranteeing deployment, to about expand the reach of its 1-Gbps-capable, fiber-fed “U-verse with “GigaPower” platform.
AT&T said it will hold GigaPower-related discussion with municipalities in at least 21 new major metros, including Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City and Los Angeles (an expanded, more detailed list is below.”
AT&T said the planned expansion is part of its Project Velocity IP (VIP) investment initiative for wireline and wireless broadband. On the wireline side, AT&T’s current plan is to have the network reach 57 million customer locations in 22 states by the end of 2015.
“This expanded fiber build is not expected to impact AT&T’s capital investment plans for 2014,” AT&T said.
Beating Google Fiber to the punch, AT&T has already begun to roll out GigaPower in pockets of Austin, Texas, starting off with a 300 Austin, Texas, starting off with symmetrical speeds, and expecting to upgrade that to 1 Gbps by mid-2014. AT&T has previously announced plans to roll GigaPower to Dallas this summer and that it is in “advanced discussions” with the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) to bring GigaPower to six cities in North Carolina, including Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem.
Word that AT&T is talking about GigaPower with a slate of new cities comes less than a month after company chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told an investor’s conference that the “cost dynamics” for the rollout in Austin “have been really, really encouraging… 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."
AT&T’s announcement also comes roughly two months after Google Fiber announced that it was “exploring” the idea of bringing its 1-Gig network to an additional nine metro markets and up to 34 cities.
Here’s an updated list of current and potential AT&T U-verse GigaPower markets, and the incumbent cable operator that serves each market:
- Atlanta, Ga. (Alpharetta, Atlanta, Decatur, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Lithonia, McDonough, Marietta, Newnan, Norcross, and Woodstock). Incumbent MSO: Comcast
- Augusta, Ga. Incumbent MSO: Comcast
- Austin, Texas. Incumbent MSO: Time Warner Cable
- Charlotte, N.C. (Charlotte, Gastonia, and Huntersville). Incumbent MSO: TWC.
- Chicago, Ill. (Chicago, Des Plaines, Glenview, Lombard, Mount Prospect, Naperville, Park Ridge, Skokie, and Wheaton). Incumbent MSO: Comcast
- Cleveland, Ohio (Akron, Barberton, Bedford, Canton, Cleveland, and Massillon). Incumbent MSOs: TWC and MCTV.
- Dallas, Texas (Dallas, Farmer's Branch, Frisco, Grand Prairie, Highland Park, Irving, Mesquite, Plano, Richardson, and University Park). Incumbent MSO: TWC.
- Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Incumbent MSO: Comcast.
- Fort Worth, Texas (Arlington, Euless, Fort Worth, and Haltom City). Incumbent MSOs: TWC and Charter Communications.
- Greensboro, N.C. Incumbent MSO: TWC.
- Jacksonville/St. Augustine, Fla. Incumbent MSO: Comcast.
- Houston, Texas (Galveston, Houston, Katy, Pasadena, Pearland, and Spring). Incumbent MSO: Comcast.
- Kansas City, Mo./Kan. (Independence, Kansas City, Leawood, Overland Park, and Shawnee). Incumbent providers: TWC, Comcast, SureWest, and Google Fiber (portions).
- Los Angeles, Calif. Incumbent MSO: TWC.
- Miami, Fla. (Hialeah, Hollywood, Homestead, Miami, Opa-Locka and Pompano Beach). Incumbent MSO: Comcast.
- Nashville, Tenn. (Clarksville, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Smyrna and Spring Hill). Incumbent MSO: Comcast.
- Oakland, Calif. Incumbent MSO: Comcast.
- Orlando, Fla. (Melbourne, Oviedo, Orlando, Palm Coast, Rockledge, and Sanford). Incumbent MSO: Bright House Networks.
- Raleigh, Durham, N.C. (Apex, Garner, Morrisville, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh). Incumbent MSO: TWC.
- St. Louis, Mo. (Chesterfield, Edwardsville, Florissant, Granite City, and St. Louis). Incumbent MSO: Charter.
- San Antonio, Texas. Incumbent MSO: TWC.
- San Diego, Calif. Incumbent MSO: Cox Communications.
- San Francisco, Calif. Incumbent MSO: Comcast.
- San Jose, Calif. (Campbell, Cupertino, Mountain View, and San Jose). Incumbent MSO: Comcast.
- Winston-Salem, N.C. Incumbent MSO: TWC.
"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,” said Lori Lee, SVP, AT&T Home Solutions, in a release.
While incumbent cable operators will need to keep an eye on AT&T’s fiber plans, some analysts believe those play into the hands of Google Fiber.
Google “comes out as the real winner,” Craig Moffett, senior research analyst at MoffetNathanson Research, opined in a recent research note predicting that AT&T could be on the cusp of a grander GigaPower buildout plan that would help Google achieve its ambitions of nudging ISPs to beef up broadband capacity, but “on AT&T’s dime.”