AT&T said today that this year it will expand its U-verse with GigaPower high-speed Internet and advanced video offering to twice as many Austin, Texas homes as the company originally planned to reach. AT&T said it was expanding its plans because sales of the service, which currently offers symmetrical broadband speeds up to 300 Mbps, have exceeded expectations.
AT&T GigaPower became available last month to customers in parts of the Austin area, after AT&T announced plans to deploy the service, which runs over fiber-to-the-home infrastructure, earlier last year.
AT&T announced its plans the same day that Google announced its own plans to deploy an FTTH-based gigabit network in Austin. And because AT&T already had fiber-to-the-node infrastructure in the Austin area, the company has been able to bring its service to market more quickly than Google has been able to do.
“GigaPower is currently available to tens of thousands of customer locations in Austin and surrounding communities,” said AT&T in today’s release. Covered Austin neighborhoods include Bryker Woods, Cherrywood, French Place, Mueller, Old Enfield and Tarrytown. Surrounding communities where GigaPower is available include parts of Bastrop, Cedar Park, Dripping Springs, Jollyville, Lakeway, Leander, Pflugerville and Round Rock.
Planned expansions in 2014 include areas of Zilker, Homestead, and North Lamar, among other Austin neighborhoods.
“We asked residents to tell us where they wanted this service and they are responding by the thousands with their votes,” said Dahna Hull, vice president and general manager for Austin for AT&T Services, in today’s announcement.
“We encourage people who haven’t voted to get online and get counted,” Hull added.
Hull’s comments refer to a web page AT&T has set up to enable people to vote for their neighborhood or community to receive GigaPower service.
This is an approach that Google initially pioneered in Kansas City to determine where it would first roll out its Google Fiber service and one that seems to be growing in popularity as carriers deploy FTTH. Each service provider adopting this approach seems to be doing so in a bit different manner from the others, however.
Google’s approach was to pre-register customers for its high-speed service, collecting a $10 deposit from each customer.
When it upgraded service in the Knoxville, Tenn. area, TDS Telecom gave customers free installation for signing up in advance and if 15% of the people in a neighborhood pre-registered for service before FTTH is deployed, customers in that neighborhood get their choice of a lifetime Internet speed upgrade or a lifetime upgrade to high-definition TV.
AT&T’s approach has few strings attached – other than customers who register their vote agree to receive GigaPower notifications and offers via e-mail, phone, and direct mail.
AT&T has said it will upgrade GigaPower service in Austin to support gigabit speeds later this year.
In today’s announcement, AT&T also revealed that Austinites consume data at rates that are 15% to 20% higher than the average U-verse user.