Gigabit Cities

Gigabites: AT&T & Google Battle It Out

It's Friday! In this week's edition of Gigabites, AT&T and Google promote new gigabit markets, Comcast spreads to the Northeast with Gigabit Pro, the city of Santa Cruz approves a new gigabit deployment in Silicon Valley and more.

  • AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) continues to grab headlines with news this week that it's expanding the rollout of its GigaPower gigabit service to 38 new metro regions, including areas in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. Los Angeles and West Palm Beach are first on the deployment list, and both went live with GigaPower at the same time AT&T announced its latest expansion on Tuesday. The telco says it now offers gigabit service in 20 of the largest metro regions in the US. (See also AT&T Expands GigaPower to 38 New Metros.)

    Gigabit expansion is good news, right? Well, hold the phone. DSLReports points out that AT&T has shared very little information about just how extensively it's making gigabit service available in target cities. That means AT&T can say it's launching GigaPower in a region, but then only offer the high-speed broadband service in very select communities and campuses. Costs vary as well, with monthly fees starting around $70 for a gigabit, but jumping up closer to $100 if subscribers choose not to have AT&T track their web browsing habits.

    AT&T has far outpaced competitors with gigabit service rollouts, but it still remains to be seen how many consumers will benefit.

  • Meanwhile, Google Fiber Inc. also updated its potential gigabit plans this week. The Internet giant says it's now "inviting Chicago and Los Angeles to explore bringing Google Fiber to their cities." That's Google (or Alphabet) speak for, "tell us what you do to make deployment easier, and we'll consider moving forward." So far, Google Fiber is operational in Kansas City, Austin and Provo, Utah, but the company's exploratory list is growing rapidly. AT&T has made hay of the fact that Google likes to announce lofty plans, but then takes years to make any network buildouts happen. This is certainly true, although it was Google's original Kansas City deployment that kicked off the national gigabit race. Credit where credit is due. (See also Google Eyes Chicago & LA for Fiber Expansion.)

  • The rollout of gigabit broadband access networks is spreading. Find out what's happening where in our dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel here on Light Reading.

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) continues its quiet expansion with Gigabit Pro, the 2-Gig service that first went live in Atlanta earlier this year. DSLReports again ferreted out the information, getting Comcast to confirm that it has started making the service available in the Northeast region of the US. The option is still an expensive one, however. At $300 per month, most households are likely to stick with lower-speed tiers.

  • Beehive Broadband in Utah is joining the gigabit party. The local ISP has announced it will start deployments in Salt Lake City this month, with the rollout continuing into 2016. Beehive credits the use of aerial fiber for its cost-efficient network buildout. Gigabit service will be available for $70 per month.

  • Santa Cruz is on its way to universal gigabit broadband access. The city council voted unanimously this week to approve a Santa Cruz Fiber plan that calls for local ISP Cruzio to provide gigabit service throughout the region. From the Santa Cruz Economic Development office: "While many communities in the Bay Area have pockets of speed for those willing to pay a premium, Santa Cruz Fiber strives to be the first in Silicon Valley to offer gigabit service to anyone who wants a gig in Santa Cruz at a competitive price."

    — Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

  • DHagar 12/14/2015 | 1:57:18 PM
    Re: Gigabit KBode, that is where I believe the key is as well.  I believe city networks as host, partnering with private enterprise are the key to sustainable models.

    The question becomes how to get there now?
    KBode 12/13/2015 | 3:45:51 PM
    Re: Gigabit "What happens then?"

    Yes we're talking about major coverage gaps left after Google and AT&T get done cherry picking.

    The good news is that DOCSIS 3.1 should let cable companies deliver gigabit speeds pretty broadly to everybody else. The problem is those cable companies won't have any competition, so those lines will be absurdly expensive and probably capped.

    Still think municipal broadband plays a starring role in the networks of tomorrow.
    thebulk 12/12/2015 | 11:34:04 AM
    Re: Gigabit... @danielcawrey, 

    right, cheap offices and fast internet not so far from the valley could really liven that area up even more. 
    DHagar 12/11/2015 | 7:29:39 PM
    Re: Gigabit msilbey, the Bites Wars are on!  It sounds as if it could result though in regional black holes that may not be profitable to connect?  What happens then?

    I am also wondering what the impact of Net Neutrality has been?  It appears maybe negligible?
    danielcawrey 12/11/2015 | 7:11:37 PM
    Re: Gigabit... Congrats to Santa Cruz. Its close location to Silicon Valley makes it an attractive place for startups. This is especially true seeing that the rent for offices is really cheap there. With gigabit internet, there's even more opportunity for technology to grow in Santa Cruz. 
    msilbey 12/11/2015 | 4:17:40 PM
    Re: Gigabit... The capex plans are the most telling. I'd love to see a true deployment map.
    KBode 12/11/2015 | 2:48:54 PM
    Gigabit... Very interesting to see how much AT&T's announcement was hyped in cities that actually believe they're getting anything close to uniform gigabit fiber coverage. Talking to employees I'm absolutely positive they've got a large number of markets on their list of 57 "launched" that quite literally include nothing more than a single housing development of a dozen or so homes. Or a single university dorm building where fiber was already attached. There's just no reflection of a real gigabit push in their CAPEX and budgets.
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