GigaPowerAT&T announced that current Austin, Texas based subscribers to their 300 Mbps GigaPower Internet service will soon see upgrades that deliver 1 Gbps, fulfilling GigaPower’s initial launch promise. Existing customers will not need to do anything to receive the 1 Gbps upgrade.

AT&T reacted quickly to Google’s announcement to bring Google Fiber to Austin, issuing a press release about an hour after Google’s Austin expansion announcement. AT&T reports that tens of thousands of Austin residents have access to GigaPower, but they have not revealed many details regarding the availability and penetration of the service. Regardless, it does appear as if AT&T will have a first mover advantage in Austin with Gigabit services. What we don’t know is how AT&T’s GigaPower footprint will compare with Google Fiber’s, since they both are very selective with where they deploy Gigabit services.

Austin should become an interesting laboratory for studying competitive implications for ultra-fast broadband services. In addition to AT&T and Google, Time Warner Cable intends to bring TWC Maxx to Austin, which delivers 300 Mbps and regional cable MSO Grande is bringing their gigabit service, Power 1000, to the Texas market as well.

AT&T GigaPower Austin
AT&T announced a couple of promotions that leverage their other capabilities, highlighting the competitive battle to come. They are issuing a $100 credit for AT&T wireless bills for subscribers who choose to bundle AT&T wireless and AT&T GigaPower. I suspect AT&T will continue to leverage their wireless offering for GigaPower promotions – a tactic that none of their gigabit competitors in Austin can do.

AT&T matches Googles standing $70 price point for 1 gig service, provided customers agree to join the AT&T Internet Preferences program. The program emulates other Google tactics with regards to search advertising, allowing AT&T to “…use your Web browsing information, like the search terms you enter and the Web pages you visit, to provide you relevant offers and ads tailored to your interests.” The price jumps to $99 per month for customers who don’t want to participate in AT&T Internet Preferences.

AT&T’s $120 bundled GigaPower and U-verse TV package is also closely related to Google Fiber’s $120 TV and Internet bundle. AT&T also throws in free HBO and HBO GO for 36 months, and HD service for the $120 bundled price point.