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AT&T's Going to Carolina With 1 Gig

AT&T plans to begin building out its 1 Gbit/s broadband service in parts of North Carolina in the next few weeks, marking its second deployment of the fiber service.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) plans to bring U-verse with GigaPower to six North Carolina cities -- Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem -- once it finalizes negotiations with the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN), a regional group spearheading network deployments. AT&T says it will begin the build-out as soon as the NCNGN's six member communities ratify an agreement.

The telco's plans call for adding public WiFi hotspots, free AT&T U-Verse with GigaPower at up to 100 public sites, fiber links to up to 100 local businesses, and free 3 Mbit/s AT&T U-verse broadband for 10 affordable housing complexes.

Google Fiber Inc. kicked off the fiber trend with its Kansas City rollout in 2012, but this will be the second time that AT&T is beating it to the punch in a new city. The first time came when AT&T launched the service in Austin, Texas, in December. (See Austin Gets Google's Next Fiber Gig.)

In Austin, AT&T is only offering 300 Mbit/s speeds for its customers, promising to bump them up to 1 Gig speeds by midyear, at which time Google's network will also be live. (See AT&T's Austin GigaPower Debuts at 300 Mbit/s .)

AT&T also announced today that it's working with PulteGroup to bring its fiber-to-the-premises network to four currently open-for-sale, single-family communities and five existing communities in the Austin area. It says it will double its deployment in Austin due to higher-than-expected demand and plans to expand to other markets, like parts of Dallas, this year and beyond.

Google has lit the competitive fire under traditional broadband providers to match its 1 Gig offer. Even small operators like C Spire are getting in the game. That regional operator plans to start offering services later this year in its home market of Mississippi in Starkville, Ridgeland, Quitman, and Horn Lake. (See C Spire Lets SPIT Percolate.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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