It's that time again: In this week's Gigabites roundup, analysts forecast AT&T's surge past Google in the gigabit race in 2017* and an overall 10x increase in gigabit connections this year. Plus, Mediacom and newly branded Midco update their gigabit plans, the NCTC certifies more gigabit-capable providers and more.
Google Fiber Inc. has been very vocal about its plans to expand into several new cities, including big ones like Chicago and Los Angeles. But actual network deployments have been slow to follow. So far, the company only has gigabit service up and running in Kansas City; Austin; and Provo, Utah. Likewise, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has advertised a slew of new market launches for its GigaPower service, but critics point out that many of those deployments only reach a handful of neighborhoods. (See Gigabites: AT&T & Google Battle It Out.)
Now financial analysts are trying to cut through the hype. When it comes to concrete numbers, analyst Paul de Sa of Bernstein Research predicts that Google Fiber will reach roughly 2.4 million homes by the end of 2017. In contrast, MoffettNathanson predicts that AT&T will reach 5 million "customer locations" in the same time period. If accurate, that puts AT&T at more than double Google's gigabit reach in less than two years.
The only problem? AT&T's gigabit momentum may peter out before the end of the decade once it satisfies the requirements imposed by regulators as part of the company's deal to acquire DirecTV. After that, it's anyone's game.
*UPDATE: AT&T wrote to Light Reading to say that -- measured by the number of markets launched -- the company is already beating Google in gigabit deployments. As recounted by a spokesperson, AT&T is currently live in 20 markets, while Google Fiber is live in three. AT&T also says it has already made gigabit service available to more than 1 million locations.
For many reasons -- including deployments by AT&T and Google Fiber -- it looks like 2016 will be the year gigabit broadband service really takes off. Deloitte predicts there will be a tenfold increase in gigabit network connections globally this year, with 70% of those connections coming from the residential sector. The company's analysts cite rising demand and falling prices as primary factors in the gigabit rise.
And, in case you missed it, five cable modem vendors received DOCSIS 3.1 certification this week, putting them on a path to help cable operators deliver multi-gigabit broadband speeds over legacy HFC networks. (See CableLabs Certifies First D3.1 Modems.)
Re: Gigabit deployment. It will be interesting to see if Google stays in the large city market and gets the most subscribers while AT&T plays the get the most market card, and ends up with less customers than Google but maybe is skimming the most profitable customer lineup.
Re: Gigabit deployment. I agree in that it is indeed for Price Only--the market is maturing and all they are doing now is to steal customers. The only motivating factor that will retain customers is customer service--that's where the "value proposition" will play a profound role.
We did 50 Mb/s with Verizon on FiOS in 2006. So, if they are pushing it...it is for price reasons.
And to apartment buildings. You don't just get to wire them up. They own their own conduit. They often have a deal with the cable company for video that is exclusive - not in all cases but many cases. Sometimes they even have their own dish. That means that you have no way of getting to the apartments even if the residents want service.
Re: Gigabit deployment. There's a half dozen or so huge markets that are either in active construction or negotiations for future deployment, so it has been interesting to watch Wall Street analysts the last few weeks realize that even if a fraction of these cities come online, we're talking about a pretty major impact by 2018 or so.
Re: Gigabit deployment. I think you'll see some ramp up in competition in markets where there's a broader focus on apartments, but by and large most of these companies are making it pretty clear their focus is on higher end development communities where competition already likely existed.
Re: Gigabit deployment. Just as an FYI in response to @Keebler comments, all indications I have seen is that the Google Expansion is slated to continue--Orange County California is on the horizon as it is slated to arrive in Irvine this year. The battle lines are drawn-no question.
Officially, they did not rule out expansion later, but the odds are slim as they focus on wireless.
In any case, it doesn't rule out Google expanding into new cities. As I mentioned, construction is ongoing in the Atlanta area with a likely turn up of services this year. I've always been skeptical of Google fiber as a long term business and see it as more of a way for them to incent new development in high speed access. After all, their core business is not the infrastructure, it's the stuff that rides on it. The more people that have access to high speed, the more they become integrated into those people's lives.
Re: anybody know ATT may talk a good game, but their follow through leave much room for SUSPICION and DOUBT!! Ask ANY fomer Bell South customer... ATT already plays like Verizon and talks about neighborhoods deployed, not amounts of customers which can subscribe to the service. They often like to describe homes & businesses passed.. but if any of these so-called homes & businsess called up to subscribe, they'd be out of luck.. because it just passes, not services.. when there is just fiber passing the geography, it means diddly squat! when an actual NODE can service the geography, that's REAL DEPLOYMENT! DUH!
Yes, Google is deploying quite slow and cherry picking some of the wrong cherries at that.. but still has yet to push others they are NOT overlapping to increase speeds faster..
Take the NYC marketplace.. it may be one of the last major metro markets to get gigabit internet-- symmetric or otherwise.. which is a damn shame! Not that its served by an ATT wireline, but you know the names well: Verizon, Time Warner, RCN, and Cablevision.